In December last year, COP16 was held in Cancun, Mexico, the results of which have received diverse feedbacks from different parties. Three months later, the 2011 first workshop pursuant to the Cancun Agreements took place in Bangkok, Thailand.
This article mainly introduces: 1) the results of Cancun Climate Conference, 2) the change of the negotiation condition from Cancun to Bangkok, 3) the agenda of Bangkok Conference, 4) China’s current position
Cancun: Maintain Pragmatic In Difficulty
After the disappointing Copenhagen Conference, the Cancun Conference hasn’t been placed much hope on. Different from the excitement of world in 2009, Cancun Conference is aimed at rebuilding the confidence of negotiation and the mutual political trust. After a tough period of two weeks, two resolutions were passed amid applause during the conference.
As to the the second commitment (the most thorny issue) of Kyoto Protocol, no party has made any clear declaration yet but required AWG-KP to ensure that there would be no gap between the first and the second commitment period. How to resolve the future of KP has become one of the key issues in this year’s conference. Same attitude was applied to the issue of reaching a legally binding agreement for developing countries. Nonetheless, the resolution also clearly implies that developed countries must be accountable for their historic emission, take the lead in tackling climate change and provide developing countries with long-term, predictable funds, skills and constructive support.
As to the long-term goal, the conference made it clear that the rise of temperature should be controlled within 2 Degree Celsius comparing to the pre-industrial level, while the goal of 1.5 Degree Celsius, which is more consistent with scientific requirements, was also mentioned. Moreover, the conference pointed out the discrepancy between the promise of carbon emission reduction at current stage and the efforts that must be taken.
To deal with the problem of funds, the Cancun Conference decided to establish Green Climate Funds and Transitional Committee. It also clarified that developed countries should provide 100 billion USD to developing countries by 2020. In considering the problem of technical transfer, the conference decided to establish the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and Technology Executive Committee (TEC). Besides, the conference also made decisions on CDM, MRV, ICA and NAMA, etc.
The Cancun Conference successfully brought countries back to the negotiation table of the UNFCCC and confirmed the mutual understanding of scientific facts and the negotiation track at current stage, which led to the progress of some issues as well as the agenda for 2011.
Negotiation Environment After Cancun
A series of natural disasters happened early this year. Besides the earthquakes in Yingjiang and Fukushima, many other countries were also struck by ground-shaking earthquakes, which caused huge death tolls, such as Pakistan, New Zealand, Myanmar and Indonesia. Thailand, Pakistan, Bolivia, Chile and Australia all encountered destructive floods. One rainstorm in Brazil alone had taken away more than 700 lives. Hope these increasingly frequent extreme whether and disasters can let all governments be aware of the urgency of climate change.
As to the political environment, China passed the Twelfth Five-year Plan of state within March, which has received positive feedbacks from the world. The Europe Union also published “EU 2050 Road Map” recently, addressing their increased ambition in the mitigation target. Group 20 had a lot of discussions about the financial issues of climate change. Meanwhile, BASIC and Cartagena Dialogue, which was established last year, also had further meetings after Cancun. However, because of the frustrating domestic legislation issue, the U.S., together with Japan, maintained conservative as at Cancun.
Besides, the second preparation meeting for the 2012 UN Earth Summit was held at New York in March.
What’s on the table in Bangkok ?
The conference, divided into two rounds, will last for 6 days from the 3rd to the 8th.
In the first two days, three workshops were arranged, the themes of which were: The assumption and condition of emission reduction targets by developed countries, assumption and supported needed for implementation of mitigation actions by developing countries, and expert workshop on the technology mechanism. The aim for these is to offer every nation a stage to explain its commitments, efforts and action plans as to enhance the mutual political trust.
Official conferences of the AWG-KP and AWG-LCA are going to kick of f on Tuesday.
From the agenda, we can see that the focus of the conference is still the negotiation at the LCA track. For AWG-KP, the agenda provided only includes the discussion of the second commitment period. However, whether the Kyoto Protocol is to be invalidated actually is the biggest question for 2011. UN climate chief Christiana said earlier March that “In 2011 they need to figure out how to address this issue and how to take it forward in a collective and inclusive way. Resolving this will create a firmer foundation for an even greater collective ambition to cut emissions.”
In AWG-LCA, the agenda covers discussions more than ten issues, including long-term goal of carbon emission reduction, Adaptation Committee, work programme on enhanced MRV , the registry, Standing Committee, Market-based and non-market-based mechanism, capacity-building, review, legal option, etc. The conference will be continued in Bonn, Germany.
Although the climate conference has gone fairly deep, heated debates on key issues are not likely to occur directly at Bangkok. It is more possible that the nations will enhance their communication beforehand and decide positions and work plans within allies. As to detailed issues, the discussion worked out the time of negotiation for this year and the necessary mandate.
Position of China
China just passed the Twelfth Five-year Plan, which further highlights climate change. Meanwhile, it puts forward clear domestic binding targets to reduce the energy intensity and carbon intensity, which is to be followed by each province. As Dr. Huang Huikang, the Chinese special envoy of climate change, said, “It not only indicates Chinese government’s ambition to climate change, but also strategic choice for the future development model, the meaning of which is much greater than the realm of climate change.”
China’s plan of carbon emission reduction, which is getting more transparent, is being further accepted by the global society. For instance, at a lecture in March, Lord Stern, the former chief economist of the World Bank, commented highly on China, viewing the plan as scientific and pragmatic and he was very confident in implementation.
The positive attitude and plan has created comparatively advantaged position for China in the negotiation. In this year’s conference, our main task is probably to unite the allies, highlight developed countries’ responsibility of realizing promises, reconfirm the CBDR principle of negotiation, stick to the Bali Roadmap as well as Kyoto Protocol, and speed up the negotiation process of issues like finance and technical transfer.
In next article, I’ll talk more about the negotiation weather up to now.
Comments and suggestions are welcomed.
About the authorMarvin Nala