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Pre-sessional Meetings Being Held Prior to Bonn Climate Change Talks

Bonn Climate Change Conference  Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

Bonn Climate Change Conference
Photo Credit: (UNFCCC)

 

Major groups of countries are engaged in preparatory talks among themselves prior to the opening of the Meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on Monday, May 16. These groups include the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and the Group of 77 (G77) and China. The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are Members of these two groups. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre is being represented at the meetings by Carlos Fuller, the International and Regional Liaison Officer who is the Chairman of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Mr. Fuller has met with several of the negotiating groups over the past three days to advise them on how he proposes to conduct the SBSTA session. These include the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the African Group, AOSIS, and the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDCs). He also met with the Chairman of the G77. On Saturday, May 14th, he met with Members of the Bolivarian Alliance (ALBA) and the Arab States. The pre-sessional meetings will continued on Sunday.

Ban Ki-Moon Closing Address at COP21 Action Day Innovation, Imagination, Faster Climate Action

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave the following address at the close of COP21 Action Day in Paris:

Ban Ki-Moon Closing Address at COP21 Action Day

Ban Ki-Moon Closing Address at COP21 Action Day

“I thank President Hollande for convening this gathering, and for France’s engagement as one of the co-leaders of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, along with Peru, the United Nations and the UNFCCC.

I have been looking forward to Action Day because it is about the solutions we so urgently need. Today is about action by all sectors of society. It is about innovation and imagination; collaboration and partnership. It is about our collective future, and it is about hope.

Today, as never before, the stars are aligned in favour of strong, concerted action on climate change. The pace of climate action is quickening.

Governments, cities, the private sector, investors, and the public at large increasingly understand the grave risks posed by climate change.

They also see the tangible benefits to be gained by early action. These include economic growth, new markets, job creation, cleaner air and improved health.

Cities are reducing emissions and bolstering their resilience. Companies are investing in new, green technologies and scaling up use of renewable energy. Investors are scrutinizing fossil fuel investments, and insurers are beginning to integrate climate risk into their decision-making.

Last, and certainly not least, civil society is mobilizing as never before. Citizens, youth, indigenous peoples and faith leaders around the world are demanding action.

National governments are here in Paris seeking to adopt a new, universal climate change agreement. A meaningful agreement will set the international policy framework needed to scale up climate action by all sectors of society.

The Lima-Paris Action Agenda reflects many important initiatives occurring throughout the world. It showcases feasible and affordable climate solutions that demonstrate that the transition to a low-emissions, climate-resilient economy is under way.

I am pleased to see countries from the Global South developing new partnerships, and I encourage more South-South cooperation on climate change.

Strong climate action provides a powerful catalyst for global sustainable development. It is necessary for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Without climate action there can be no sustainable development.

The Lima-Paris Action Agenda is an integral part of the outcomes here in Paris. It will complement the new agreement and will continue to highlight the critical role of non-state actors transforming our societies.

Last year, I hosted a Climate Summit in New York. It gave birth to new multi-stakeholder partnerships and initiatives on forests, renewable energy, sustainable transport, resilience, finance and other areas critical for addressing climate change.

All finance commitments made by the private sector at the UN Climate Summit are on track to being realized. Moreover, billions of additional dollars have been invested since the Summit to support low-carbon and climate-resilient investments in all parts of the world.

The Lima-Paris Action Agenda builds on this progress. Together, these initiatives are making an impact. They demonstrate that we can reduce emissions, improve energy efficiency, build more sustainable cities, protect our forests and create a better future for all.

The benefits of technology and innovation can accelerate progress on sustainable development. I have appointed an Advisory Group of ten eminent individuals from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community to support the recently established Global Technology Facilitation Mechanism and its important work.

This week I also launched my resilience initiative.

I am committed to working with various partners on a range of multiple opportunities to scale up climate action. This will include a “Climate Action 2016” summit of leaders from government, business, cities, civil society and academia on May 5–6 next year in Washington, D.C.

This high-level gathering will complement ongoing efforts and catalyze concrete deliverables in specific high-value areas, such as cities, land use, resilience, energy, transport, tools for decision makers, and finance.

These are the areas that will help make a difference as we work to implement the outcome of the climate conference here in Paris.

We need to rapidly expand and accelerate climate action at every level – from the local to the global. We must go further and we must go faster in line with what science requires to limit temperature rise to less than 2 degrees.

The United Nations system will continue to support climate action in partnership with all stakeholders.

I thank you for your leadership, vision and commitment to building a more prosperous, resilient and secure future for all.”

Source: UN Climate Change News Room

Reflection on the 2012 Doha Climate Change Talks

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, says Caribbean delegates played a major role at last year’s climate change talks in Doha, including as Chairs of Contact groups and lead negotiators representing the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) or the Group of 77 and China. He notes that the region would like to see the establishment of a Loss and Damage mechanism included in the successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. Read his reflection on the 2012 Doha climate change talks.

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liasion Officer

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liasion Officer

The annual United Nations Climate Change Talks were held in Doha, Qatar from 26 November to 6 December 2012. It consisted of meetings of all seven bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) including the 18th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP), the highest body of the Convention, and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the parties of the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), which is the highest body of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Caribbean delegations attending the meetings were hoping to achieve three main objectives: to ensure the continuity of the Kyoto Protocol, to ensure a successful conclusion of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action under the Convention, and to establish a loss and damage mechanism. Most of these objectives were realized.

The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ended on the 31st of December 2012. Developed countries had agreed when they signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 that they would collectively reduce their emissions of greenhouse by 5% of their 1990 levels during the period 2008 to 2012. A carbon market consisting of three flexibility mechanisms were created to assist these countries in meeting their targets. These would have collapsed without a successor agreement. Most of the original developed country signatories to the protocol agreed to an 8-year second commitment period which would result in a collective emission reduction of 18% below their 1990 levels. Japan, New Zealand and the Russian Federation refused to undertake commitments in the second period. The United States of America never ratified the Kyoto Protocol and Canada withdrew last year. A new gas, nitrogen trifluoride, was added to the list of gases controlled by the Kyoto Protocol. Countries agreed that Joint Implementation projects, which are projects between developed countries to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, should contribute 2% of their proceeds to the Adaptation Fund.

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects are implemented in developing countries and the carbon credits generated are sold to developed countries which have emission reduction targets under Kyoto. Countries further agreed that only those countries which had taken on commitments in the second period could participate in theses flexibility mechanisms. All these agreements required amendments to the Protocol and these amendments must be ratified nationally. To ensure that there is no delay in the implementation of the amendments, countries agreed to [provisional application of the amendments or to use existing national legislation while the ratification process is being pursued.

In 2007 at COP 13, countries agreed to the Bali Action Plan which identified the seven areas which would be addressed to ensure long term cooperative action on climate change. These included a shared vision, mitigation by both developed and developing countries, adaptation, technology, finance and capacity building. These negotiations, including the agreement on a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, should have been concluded in Copenhagen at COP 15. Although that attempt failed, the stage was set for agreement in the ensuing years for commitments by developed countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. Countries agreed on a shared vision of limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to revisit that target with a view to reducing it to 1.5°C based on new scientific evidence. Developing countries agreed to undertake actions to reduce their emissions if they were provided with the financial and technical support. These Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) would be matched with donor support via a Registry managed by the Secretariat of the UNFCCC.

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Google Image

Negotiations for a mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, including through conservation (REDD+), were launched. New market mechanisms including through sectoral approaches would be developed. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was established as the new vehicle for climate financing. A Standing Committee was established to provide oversight on all the steams of climate financing. A new technology mechanism was established to promote and facilitate development, deployment and transfer of technology for adaptation and mitigation. An Adaptation Committee and the Durban Capacity Building Platform were established. At Doha, the last outstanding institutional mechanisms for these new bodies were developed. These will form the basis of a new protocol or legally binding instrument to address climate change. This new agreement will be finalized by 2015 and will come into effect in 2020.

One element that Caribbean countries wish to see incorporated in the new agreement would be for the establishment of a Loss and Damage mechanism. This has been one of the goals of small island developing states (SIDS) since negotiations commenced on a climate change convention in 1990. All that has been achieved so far is the cursory mention of insurance in one article of the Convention. At Doha countries agreed that the COP would consider the establishment of institutional arrangements including an international mechanism to address loss and damage when it met in Warsaw at COP 19.

Caribbean delegates played major roles at the negotiation including as Chairs of Contact groups and lead negotiators representing the Alliance of Small Island Developing States (AOSIS) or the Group of 77 and China. Trinidad and Tobago will assume the chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform in June 2013. This is the body that is negotiating the new agreement.

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