COP15: The row is over, but not completely
15 December: In the last couple of days, the Danish presidency met quite some criticism. COP president Connie Hedegaard’s action this Sunday, to call 48 Ministers for a special informal consultation, was heavily disputed by Bernaditas de Castro Muller. De Castro Muller is a former diplomat from the Philippines and spokesperson of the poorer countries united in the G77. “Undemocratic”, she called it, because the G77 interests would be denied. But Hedegaard replied that she never attended a COP that was so transparent. On Sunday at least 28 Ministers were from the G77.
De Castro Muller is quite famous for her stinging proclamations. However, the G77 is at the negotiation table again, which means that the rows about the procedures are over. Ministers gradually take over the negotiations now. Again, De Castro Muller warned that ‘Ministers are no negotiators’, but this COP is unprecedented. Hedegaard and UN climate chief Yvo the Boer talked about a new phase. “We got the ministers working now, until late at night,” Hedegaard said.
The three main points, the industrialised world’s targets, the developing world’s commitments and financing will have to be resolved in the next 48 hours. “On Thursday afternoon, Ministers have to hand over the issues to their heads of state,” Hedegaard said.
Monitoring, reporting and validating
When government leaders will take over on Friday, most technical problems have to be solved. In a ministerial working group about finance, money has not yet become the main issue. Of more importance is how to organise the money flows from rich to poorer countries. G77 and China want a new body, under the umbrella of the UNFCCC bureau of Yvo de Boer. The rich countries want the regular World Bank to handle the flows. A Dutch proposal now covers an intermediate solution.
British environment minister Ed Miliband for instance, today chaired the working group of financing and explained, walking through the hallway: “We are narrowing down the number of issues on the table, to maybe eight or twelve. “We are definitely making progress.”
But besides decreasing the number of issues, the progress is hardly measurable in this ‘informal’ stage of the negotiations. A positive sign is that discussion laid more emphasis on monitoring, reporting and validating (MRV) the different agreements about target, financing or commitment. This means that some official template should be established to control each other. But these controls would be of no interest if there would be no agreement, would it?
Country number 193
Last week, Somalia entered the UNFCCC community as the 193rd country. Probably this will not largely complicate the negotiations, but it is encouraging that participation is still nice enough to apply.
Only three days and a couple of hours before the Copenhagen Summit ends, the world is only halfway towards limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees, according to the Climate Action Tracker. Halfway means a probable temperature rise of 3.5 degrees.
Moreover, the CAT provided a list of ‘things to do’ to bridge the gap. Developed countries should focus at -30% by 2020, developing countries at 30% below ‘business as usual’ in that same year. Substantial amounts of carbon dioxide can be reduced by halting deforestation and reducing aviation and marine transport.
Posted 17/12/2009 by Rolf de Vos
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