Monday, 16 December 2013

Outcomes of UNFCCC COP 19, Warsaw 2013

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has concluded its 19th Conference of the Parties on climate change in Warsaw during the early hours of 24th of November 2013. This year’s conference was supposed to lay the groundwork for the details of the long term agreement post-2020, which is to be signed in COP 21 in Paris 2015 and come into force in 2020 after the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol. The main outcomes this year have covered issues related to climate change damages, adaptation, forestry measures and future emissions reduction pledges. These outcomes however have fell short of resolving many details leaving little time for reaching a meaningful agreement in 2015.
First, in preparation for COP 21 in Paris 2015 on the post-2020 long-term agreement, the conference agreed on a specified timetable, under which nations are expected to submit their planned post-2020 emission reduction contributions by the first quarter of 2015. However, the agreement is far from reliable as the submission deadline is not binding and the submissions themselves are taking the form of contributions rather than firm commitments. Furthermore, the agreement fails to set mechanisms for assessing these contributions when submitted.
Second, the conference has established a new framework “Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage” as a disaster relief framework for supporting countries at risk of damages and losses associated with climate change. However, the framework does not specify any financial commitments leaving little doubt that such measures cannot be operational in the foreseeable future. Second, a group of industrialised nations have pledged over $100 million for the Climate Adaptation Fund in order to support the adaptation efforts by developing and vulnerable nations to climate change impacts. Details on timeline for channelling these funds and their sources were also unclear. Finally, the conference has established a new framework for the mechanism of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) called “Warsaw Framework for REDD+” which supports developing countries in sustaining their forestry endowments that serve as carbon sinks. The framework includes financial pledges of $280 as well as monitoring guidelines, making this framework the most promising outcome of this conference. After 6 years of negotiating REDD+, this development perhaps is the key step that will enable the scheme to be operational and play an important role in COP 21 in Paris 2015.
One of the major unresolved issues during this negotiations round is the extent to which the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” in terms of emission reductions will still hold in a post-2020 agreement. On the one hand, emerging economies have advocated maintaining this clear distinction between developing and developed countries in any post-2020 agreement due to the historical emissions record by the developed nations. This view on the other hand was rejected by developed nations, given that by 2020 emissions generation from developing and emerging economies will overtake those by developed ones. Such disagreement, if not resolved by 2015, will put the post-2020 agreement in jeopardy. I believe that future long-term emission targets should adaptive to the projected economic development trajectories as well as historical responsibilities.
The outcomes of Warsaw COP 19 place high pressure on COP 20 in Lima 2014 for significant progress before COP 21 in Paris 2015. The next year and half will tell whether or not it is achievable to reach a meaningful post-2020 agreement that might (with a pinch of salt) maintain the warming levels below the 2C degrees target.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Durban Climate Agreement: Gap Period in the International Actions and its Economic Implications

To put the developments of the international climate negotiations in economic jargon: The marginal cost of the climatic damages is much higher than the marginal revenue (progress) of the international negotiations. That said, the results of the climate summit in Durban CoP17 have effectively abolished the opportunity of maintaining the 2 degrees Celsius target.

South Africa, CoP17 host, has administrated the talks using ‘Indaba’process, based on its traditional tribal meetings, to help facilitate transparent and fully inclusive negotiations. On the edge of collapsing, Durban talks resulted in half-baked solutions. Instead of agreeing on a legally-binding treaty effective immediately or by the end of Kyoto period, the negotiators agreed on setting a roadmap to finalise a treaty by 2020. This was satisfactory enough for Europe to maintain its lead in the international climate agenda and commit itself to another period of Kyoto Protocol.

Furthermore, new measures on the REDD+ were agreed upon, which guarantee more markets’ intervention. While the extensive and focused efforts on the Green Climate Fund this year have no clear outcomes. Perhaps, the major achievement under this roadmap is having all major emitters like US, China and India effectively involved in the roadmap toward a legally-binding agreement. Yet this is all dependent on the definition of the legal form of the agreement, which, unsurprisingly, caused the major crisis in the talks during the last few hours of the extended talks on Sunday morning.

Looking back at Copenhagen Agreement, we are just stepping backward. The ambitions set in Copenhagen are looming away. One could suggest that in Copenhagen and Cancun accords countries committed themselves to voluntary targets rather than legally binding ones, which, the latter, is the case now after Durban. However, there were no clear details on how far and how fast will the Parties cut their emissions. Moreover, it’s been well documented by researchers, institutions, environmentalists and economists that postponing the collective international action till 2020 will make meeting the 2 degrees target virtually impossible. This extension will increase the cost of minimising the irreversible climatic damages.

In this article, I intend to report on the negotiation process and the results of the summit. Most importantly, I will provide evidences on the drastic economic implications of postponing the global action until 2020. These evidences are based on estimations by WITCH Model developed by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) research institute in Italy.

The Negotiations Process:

The EU has put forward a roadmap proposal calling for a mandate to negotiate a new legally binding treaty on global warming by 2015, covering all major emitters, in return for the bloc signing up to a second period of emissions cuts under the existing Kyoto Protocol architecture. There were also several documents circulated by the UN to propose different pathways for the agreement and the implications of each. The latter documents were meant to guide the discussions on more solid grounds.

In the early days of the conference, many officials considered a meaningful outcome could be achieved on finance. There was high optimism on the ability to launch the fund as an outcome of the talks. The form and shape of the $100 billion fund has been the subject of discussions by a 40-member committee over the past nine months to draft rules to govern the pool of the money. Informal discussions about the fund are being held, following objections by Saudi Arabia, the United States and Venezuela.

The UN document seeks clarifying the sources of the $100 billion Green Climate Fund when the current fast track funding scheme finishes by 2012, and urges higher transparency in aid pledge delivery. This action is being called upon since Copenhagen negotiations with no step forward. One clause in the document called the developed nations to include climate aid in their budgets equivalent to their spending on defence, security and warfare. “It gives them a very good sense what the package is going to look like next week,”Christiana Figueres said. “We see very good progress on a package of measures to do with adaptation. Durban will move forward with adaptation.” She added.

The initial Blueprint for the climate fund was refused by the US, a move that was backed by Saudi Arabia. While the US is after more private sector involvement to raise the climate fund, Saudi Arabia is seeking a compensation scheme for the oil-producing countries. Later on, the US Special Envoy on Climate Change Todd Stern said the United States is “quite committed”to getting the climate fund done at the ongoing climate conference. He also insisted that such fund should be operated under the guidance of the CoP rather than under its authority.

On a related note, Lord Stern suggested that rich economies should stop subsidising the fossil fuel industries. This will facilitate raising the required fund for the developing and developed countries for climate mitigation and adaptation agendas. While the climate fund discussions are focused on the technicalities of channelling the fund, no sufficient discussions aim at the fund raising modalities. He also suggested that cutting the subsidies should be coupled with introducing new levies on international aviation and shipping industries, in addition to loans from international development banks. Moreover, to enhance the impacts of any climate fund, negotiators should agree on setting low interest rates on its related finances and loans. In his article in the Guardian, he put forward sophisticated and innovative mechanisms that not only provide options for raising the climate green funds, but also catalyse on the capital flows.

On the future of Kyoto Protocol, the EU’s proposal for the roadmap has played a key role in the negotiations over the last two weeks. Also, the UN document stressed the urgency of sticking to the 2 degrees target and proposed analysing the 1.5 degrees target by 2015. The main debate on the future of the agreement is still lagging behind the urgency of taking a new action. Developing countries including China and India initially wanted Annex-I countries to continue the efforts on curbing their emission beyond 2012 in a Kyoto-like agreement. While calls from Annex-I countries, led by Russia, Canada and Japan, are still deterring such resolution. Furthermore, the latter countries have officially ruled out the possibility of going into another period of Kyoto Protocol.

A changing tone in the European stance, where they said that they will only sign for further cuts if all polluters backed the “roadmap” in Durban leading to a legally binding agreement in 2015 that would come into force by 2020. The EU has done the most in curbing its emission. However, the carbon prices in the European Emission Trading Scheme were plummeting low. Beside the impacts of the current European crisis, these low prices are results of dysfunctional scheme, as reported by the UBS, where the oversupply trend will carry on till 2025. Connie Hedegaard said that the EU’s roadmap aims for an agreement by the first CoP after 2015, that is December 2016, and then it should come into power by 2020. A Japanese official saw in this date a realistic estimation for a deal to be done.

In a letter by the UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to the Guardian, Chris Huhne said that UK is in favour for international agreement to be signed straight away, but the reality is that some of the biggest economies are not ready yet. Therefore, the roadmap for an agreement in 2015 is considered to be an achievement in Durban. He also stated that global emissions should peak by 2020 to prevent catastrophic damages. One should wonder how fast and at what costs the emissions cuts should be to reach such peak target.

The BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) took new approach in the talks this year, where they presented themselves as a formal negotiation block. This gave them clear distinction as emerging countries. The Chinese and Brazilian envoys stressed their bitterness that Durban has no potential of extending Kyoto Protocol, which, the Chinese lead negotiator Su Wei, considered as a deviation from an agreement in 2007 where the UN talks set out plans to extend Kyoto. However, he announced during the talks that China may agree to cap its emissions after 2020. This came as alternative option to the calls of reaching the peak of their emissions by 2020. Xu Huaging, a researcher from Energy Research Institute in China, stated that such alternative will be more in line with the urbanisation challenges facing China. Furthermore, referring to various researchers who estimated a sustainable peak of the Chinese emission at 2035-2045, he criticised the 2020 peak scenarios. The Chinese minister stated that they are already doing their fair share, and developed countries are not able to prove that they are up to the speed with China.

Backed by India, China proposed that developing countries should be allowed to submit low targets that are either voluntary or binding on the national level. However, the EU is seeking the establishment of a legal parallelism under which the developing countries take serious actions. In response, the US said that it won’t adopt any new targets without having all polluters, specifically China and India, on board. Early in the second week, China and Brazil agreed to discuss the proposed European roadmap, given that rich nations set their own obligations in a way that corresponds with their capacity and historical responsibility.

The US negative leadership in such negotiation has emerged again in stating that formal legally binding agreement is unnecessary until 2020, claiming that there are multiple ways to reach the 2 degrees target after 2020. Recent studies show that the US emissions have reached a new record level. Scott Barrett, the respective Natural Resource Economics Professor, suggested that prospects for the US to curb its emissions in the near future do not exist. Official from the World Resource Institute said that the new American emission trend will continue on the Business as Usual pathway until at least 2020. Despite the recent rules on fuel efficiency and power plants, more need to be done. As long as the climate-sceptic congress is rejecting any climate-related bill and continue to be more concerned about the American business competitiveness, an international efficient and effective action won’t materialise. It is still unclear how Obama’s pledge of cutting the US emission by 17% by 2020 will be achieved. Canada presented the highest threat to the talks in the first week as unconfirmed reported stated that it will totally withdraw from the Kyoto agreement. Later on, such move was confirmed and its commitment to Kyoto Protocol is officially ended.

In the last few hours, India and group of other countries refused to sign the final form of the roadmap without knowing its details. That ends up with India and the EU setting on one table in the middle of the negotiations hall to work out the language technicalities. Following the Brazilian suggestion, both Parties agreed a road map which states “negotiating a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with a legal force”.The roadmap also addressed the need to revisit the currently pledged reduction targets in order to tackle the emissions gap scantiest pointed out last year.

This focus on the wording of the document rather than on the ultimate goal of 2 degrees is the tendencies that overthrew the efficiency of any future climate agreement. Despite the backing of 120 countries and major emitters, the EU couldn’t push its roadmap in its initially proposed shape, as it was facing major objections from China and India.

Other issues were discussed during the two weeks, such as those related to international trade. Countries called for not using greenhouse gas reduction as a justification for trade barriers and tariffs, a reference to the inclusion by the European Union of international aviation in its emissions trading system. Adding to the menu mitigating actions, there were calls for ending the war and weapons production. India requested setting measure for the intellectual property rights. The UN documented has also stress the need for the establishment of an International Climate Court of Justice to hold committed countries to account for their reduction targets.

The Outcomes:

In short, the agreed roadmap for legally binding agreement will be finalised in 2015 and come into power in 2020. Meanwhile, the EU will commit itself to another period of Kyoto agreement. However, this is not to suggest that we will be able to reach the 2 degrees by any means. Also, nations will face higher costs in cutting their emission should they working on cutting them to a responsible level.

Discussions on the Green Climate Fund have again further the modalities and mechanism for administering this fund, yet no details emerged on the sources of the fund itself. Further measure on the REDD+ were agreed upon, which guarantee more markets’ involvements.

If the wording of the roadmap caused such tensions for the last few days, one should be concerned about setting the actual modalities and mechanism to get the roadmap in action. No wonder it will take eight years. On the other hand, given the complexity of articulating the international policy, this period will be essential for nations to design the regulations on the national level and define their targets or the gaps in their current ones.

Gap Period Economic Implications - Findings and Discussion:

A report by the International Energy Agency stated that failing to take a collection action on climate change before 2017 would lock in high carbon global energy infrastructure that would lead to a rise in temperature of 3 degrees or more. Many scientist and economists such as Fatih Birol and Lord Stern saw such move as a collective legacy for failure. In this section, I will provide further evidences on the catastrophic economic impacts of a delayed action using WITCH model.

WITCH Model (World Induced Technical Change Hybrid model), developed by FEEM, introduce a framework to assess different climate policy architectures with respect to four criteria: climate effectiveness, economic efficiency, equity and distributional impacts, and enforceability and feasibility. I used the publicly available Policy Simulator, thanks to FEEM, to compare three scenarios: 1) 640ppm CO2-eq - All technologies and policies: where a global collaborative action on climate change is being taken immediately to secure the 2 degrees target in temperature rise, 2) 535ppm CO2-eq - All technologies and policies: where a global collaborative action on climate change is being taken immediately given that such target will result in a temperature increase up to 3 degrees, and 3) 535ppm CO2-eq - All technologies and policies – Start in 2020: where all parties follow their Business as Usual emission pathways until 2020, when global collaborative action on climate change starts. This scenario will surely result in more than 3 degrees rise. It is worthy to note that in an earlier research, FEEM suggested that it is impossible to attain the 2 degrees target without violating the current geo-political settings. Therefore, the 535ppm CO2-eq is more achievable with loose political constraints.

Comparing the global economic implications of these three scenarios, in 2020 the World GDP per Capita will face losses of -26.21USD if the parties adopted scenario 2 instead of scenario 3. In other words, postponing the action will generate economic benefits by 2020. However, if they adopted scenario 1 instead of scenario 3, then the World GDP per Capita will face losses by only -5.21USD. That said, taking late action in 2020 will result in short term economic gains, yet taking immediate aggressive action won’t affect these gains massively on the short term.

On the long-term, in 2050 the World GDP per Capita will face losses of -60.79USD if the parties adopted scenario 3 instead of scenario 2. Therefore, taking immediate action, even if it was not ambitious enough, will generate long-term gains. Heroic adoption of scenario 1 and in comparison with scenario 3, the World GDP per Capita will be saved from losses of -384.43USD. This is to reflect the huge long-term economic losses that could be saved from taking immediate and bold actions.
Despite whether the underlying assumptions of the model match the exact current circumstance, these figures are just to give an indication of the economic inefficiency of delayed actions, notwithstanding the unequally distributional and intergenerational environmental damages.

The Way Forward:

Whether this negotiation process will deliver a meaningful agreement at some point or not, it is all dependent on the collective political will across the world, which doesn’t seem to be able to intersect on this matter. The perception that any climate action means de-growth and anti development is the dominant pollutant in the climate diplomacy atmosphere.

Those countries with climate mechanisms and modalities in place should move collectively and introduce new trade laws that penalise the laggards like the US. Surely, it easier said than done, if politically feasible at all. But that again get us back to the political collective unwillingness to act on climate change. Perhaps those with national legislation are seeking the immediate popularity with the domestic electorate; knowing that national actions are inefficient due to the carbon leakage. A climate deal will not only avoid future damages, but also it will pave the way for the urgent economic transition toward sustainability.

Bailing out the economy is proving to be a hard task that requires high political intervention and cuts on the public benefits, while bailing out the environment is virtually impossible. It is perfectly rational to start plan channelling the Climate Green Fund based on damages pathway of an increase in the global temperature by 3 degrees or more. The large historical emitters owe the future generations worldwide the responsibility for their carbon-intensive growth. The era of “incremental advances” in the climate negotiation should come to an end in Qatar 2012, CoP18. All major negotiators should stand tall on accelerating the adoption of the Durban Roadmap before 2020.  

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

“No post-Kyoto agreement in Durban” climate negotiators signalled in Panama City

Decisiveness in Durban climate talks, later this year, has been already ruled out as a result of slow or no progress in the last preparatory meeting for the climate negotiators in Panama City, early October. A good analogy would work out as follows: the climate agreement is a gulf, the developing and developed nations are the coasts on both sides, and due to the climate impacts there is erosion in the gulf’s coasts. However, the impacts in this case are financial rather than environmental.  

Panama City talks have repeated the fundamental shift in climate diplomacy from saving the environment to saving the global negotiation process. The meeting closed last Friday not on resolving the potential setbacks before Durban, but on “starting to work out a technical framework for the future” as some officials said. The dilemma between the developing and developed countries is still the major struggle in the face of reaching a global deal, and thus Durban will not make history, it will add to the “building blocks” efforts. “Countries are trying pretty hard to scale expectations down to a realistic level for Durban” said Jennifer Haverkamp, the international climate program director at the US-based Environmental Defense Fund.

The developing nations are still in favour of another period of Kyoto Protocol. “The Kyoto protocol is a cornerstone of the climate change regime, and nothing will be achieved unless it can be adopted in Durban” said the Chair of the G77 and China, Jorge Argüello of Argentina. However, It is well known now that this protocol will not help meeting the climate challenge. A universal legally-binding regime, bundled with financial and technological transfers, is essential. On the other hand, the developed countries are trying to push for replacing the legally binding Kyoto Protocol with new voluntary-based climate regime.  Nations including Russia, Canada and Japan have repeatedly said they will not sign on for another Kyoto-style commitment period when the current one expires.

The future of the Kyoto has prompted an increasingly frantic search for an alternative plan. The European Union’s willingness to continue committed to Kyoto is welcomed, but this will cover only 11-15% of the global emissions. Notwithstanding that the EU ETS consistently proved its inefficiency in setting the required carbon price. The EU also called for two parallel treaties that extend the Kyoto Protocol for those covered by the agreement, and instrument it with binding emissions targets on countries that currently face no solid emissions reduction commitments, a proposal presented last year in Cancun.

Australia and Norway recently presented a new proposal to rescue climate talks through a binding agreement by 2015. In response the EU proposed a temporary treaty that extends Kyoto until 2015 in order to maintain the legal foundations for carbon trading schemes while allowing more time for a compromise deal to be reached and avoid any gap period. "Governments are exploring precisely those middle-ground solutions." UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said. "That is going to be the crux of Durban." she added.

On the individual level, the Australian parliament has successfully passed the carbon tax bill, a step forward for a progressive carbon pricing regime. On the contrary of what the opposition claimed that it will increase the cost of living and affect jobs, this tax will introduce the real social cost of carbon emissions. It is a progressive policy in its fundamental setting; the households who face increasing costs will benefit from other tax cuts or welfare increase. Such setting is called “Double Dividend” carbon pricing where the taxing system is shifted in a more sustainable direction that doesn’t increase the tax account for the public, yet it triggers changing their behaviour.

In the world of academia things are interpreted differently. Grantham Research Institute at LSE suggested in a research that given the advancements in the national global-warming legislations there is still room for optimism. This reflects the growing realisation that actions on climate change are in the national interest; preventing energy poverty, resources efficiency, air quality, public health, and the competitive advantage in the future low-carbon economy. The asymmetric climate impacts between the notations are vital factors as well. This shift would minimize the pressure on the articulation of sharing the global cost of climate treaty. As mentioned in this blog earlier, these increasing attitudes are welcome as they will prepare the countries for easier integration of their national policy in the international treaty. However, this is not to suggest that we have reached the level of actions required to achieve the 2 degrees goal.

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany used game theoretic models to analyse and predict the strategic behaviour of every country.  The paper concludes that America will never sign up, but the EU will if China does, which is unlikely if Africa doesn't. No nation wants to go on its own, Russia doesn't want to do anything, and the poor want the rich to absorb all the costs but the rich will only agree to sign if the poor do more. The paper further states that the evident free-riding practices – especially by the US, Canada and Russia – is the major stick in the negotiation wheel. Successful international agreement should penalise the nations that don’t meet their targets. Such clause is included neither in Kyoto Protocol nor in any succeeding mechanisms. Other measure to deal with the free-riding issue was allowing the committed countries to deviate in meeting their targets in the future, if other countries failed meeting theirs in the past.

What is more, the emerging economies stated in Panama City that they won’t sign any treaty before finalising the mechanisms behind the Green Climate Fund. The developed nations were resisting any trials to clarify these mechanisms. Despite the fact that the fund was agreed upon in principle in previous meetings, yet the mechanisms are still blurred and thus the fund can’t materialise in its optimal form. This is again to present the undemocratic practices in the negotiations. Not to mention that the fast-track funds are not yet delivered as promised.

A draft text on long-term financing was released on Friday, and a UNFCCC committee will hold a final discussion on the fund's framework while the G20 is expected to discuss green finance plans at its next meeting. Then the committee will present official proposals in Durban, which, if they didn’t meet the developing countries expectations, will bring down all the efforts in Durban. This is highly potential since members in the American congress are increasingly sceptical about the foreign aid, the European Union is facing new financial turmoil, and the Japanese are drowning in their debts after the quake-tsunami tragedy in March.

On the technological mechanisms side, India is pushing for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime for developing countries to have access to costly clean western technologies under the definition as the right to have equal access to global atmospheric space - something opposed by the developed countries. In its proposal in Panama City, India has linked equity with access to sustainable development and called for a bar on imposing “unfair trade practices in the name of climate protection”. This was largely linked to its opposition to the European Union’s plan to tax airlines under ETS, which potentially will cause friction at Durban.

The Brazilian diplomat André Corrêa do Lago said “Durban will have an impact on Rio. If it goes well, people will arrive in Rio trusting the multilateral system. If it fails, people will arrive maybe with the necessity of regaining trust in the multilateral system.” Again, efforts are focused on saving the multilateral system rather than the climatic one.

Developed countries don’t want to bear their high share of climate treaty’s cost as serious technological and financial support is needed to be transferred to poor nations, and most developing countries don’t intend to strengthen and legally bind their actions neither making them subject to fair MRV measures. This is the erosion of the gulf’s coasts.

South Africa has a big responsibility in ensuring transparent and democratic running to the talks this December in Durban. In addition to that, they should push for real progress that reflects their commitment to the African people as one the most affected by any climatic tragedy. South Africa will host pre-CoP talks in two weeks time to encourage the parties to connect informally.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Major Economies Forum & Green Climate Fund meetings: setbacks in the climate diplomacy

So far, April marked the worst month in climate diplomacy this year. Three meetings took place, all of which have deepened the differences between the climate negotiators. After Bangkok talks (reported earlier in this blog) the negotiators met in the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) in Brussels and met again to discuss the Green Climate Fund in Mexico City.

In the MEF meeting, both the US and the EU climate envoys’ delegates, Todd Stern and Connie Hedegaard respectively, had ruled out the possibility of reaching a decisive climate agreement in Durban later this year. In the same note, Hedegaard asserted that the wide recognition of “the need for legally binding agreement” is a good sign for positive progress in the future.

The MEF conference focused mainly on making progress on the climate agreements agreed upon over the past two years in Copenhagen, Cancun, and Bangkok. However, it didn’t address the issue of emissions’ reduction targets, which was the main struggle in Bangkok talks. The US delegate had stated, quite frankly, that setting these targets is not an immediate necessity. On the other hand, he keeps pressing on the need of including the emerging economies, such as China, in any international agreement; a prerequisite for the Senate to pass any climate-related bill.

The EU delegate has signalled the potential “frameworks” for the climate summit in Durban, saying that reaching an agreement that tackles both the shipping and aviation emissions can be the main focus of this year’s talks. Given the fact that the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will launch its aviation regulations next year, this is a typical European move in the climate summits; pushing the talks toward an area that the ETS has already addressed or planning to address in the near horizon, and thus claiming superior position in the climate talks.

In the same spirit, a UN sponsored climate meeting took place in Mexico City to discuss the sources and modalities of the Green Climate Fund. This meeting is the first of the Fund’s Transnational Committee (TC), which, the meeting, was postponed from the original schedule of mid-March. Well, one can assume that such delay came in the sake of finishing some back-office work. However, this is not the case. On the very top of the agenda was the decision on who will lead the Committee. Luckily this was resolved by the end of the first day of the two-day meeting. The second day was filled with closed door meetings. This worried the meeting’s civil observers about the transparency of these talks in the future. Also, there were some controversial proposals about sources for raising the necessary funds, such as the introduction of international levies on aviation’s and shipping’s carbon emissions. These proposals, if agreed upon, will perfectly fit in the ETS plans and the prearranged outcomes of main summit later this year.

The ultimate outcome of the Fund’s TC talks is supposed to be a comprehensive proposal for the fund before Durban meeting. But due to many complexities, the committee planned to meet at least three more times this year. The climate fund plays an important role in shaping and deriving the international agreement forward. However, many delegates of the committee expressed their doubts about real progress happening this year.

Following this summit, Transparency International (TI) has warned in a report against the hugely potential corruption and embezzlements in the proposed green fund schemes. Twenty nations, out of those receiving the funds, have low scores in TI’s Influential Corruption Perception Index. The received funds by these nations are not going to be used in what they are intended for, says TI. In its report “Global Corruption Report: Climate Change” TI pressed the need for tough regulations and monitoring modalities placed on the new carbon pricing mechanisms and financial support. Looking at the best cap and trade practice worldwide, namely the ETS, this should not come at a surprise. The ETS has proved its inefficiency in setting a representative carbon price, and recently it has faced a shut down in January to deal with the cyber-attacks on its database, in addition to many other problems mentioned earlier in this blog.

These meetings are new landmarks in the regressive climate talks. Certainly, they are not building the required pillars for an urgent binding agreement that meets the pace of the changing climate. 

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Bangkok Climate Talks: The struggle when it comes to the hard decisions!!

The first official round of 2011 climate negotiations in Bangkok has probably shaped up the atmosphere of the climate diplomacy for the rest of the year. Parties spent the 6-day meeting negotiating the agenda of 2011, and concluded on changing 12 words so that all Parties are satisfied with the outcome. The atmosphere of polarization between the developed and developing countries, that took place in Bangkok, is the exact opposite of what is needed this year. In order to reach a constructive agreement in Durban, CoP17, countries should come together with more positive and responsible intentions.

Achieving momentum in Durban requires countries to come forward with national and sub-national climate modalities and policies that facilitate the adoption of international ones. Developing countries should establish the grounds for cap and trade, or carbon tax schemes. While developed ones should seriously consider achieving their climate fund pledges. Moreover, they should set out the reduction targets that is required to achieve the 2° Celsius goal.

If there is a benefit came out of Cancun talks, it would be the common ground that emerged between the developed and developing countries. Although no details were agreed on, yet at least Cancun's 'focused agreements' have indicated that we might get somewhere at some point in the future, regardless how late we would and surely will be. The ultimate benefit was saving the UN Negotiation Process. Yet, they didn't set a real mandate for saving the climate.

Bangkok talks had brought us back to history, the history of polarisation in Copenhagen Climate Talks, 2009. The developing countries in Bangkok had allied together, under the lead of the BASCI group, demanding the negotiations to get back on the track of Bali Roadmap 2007. This implies the adoption of Kyoto Protocol for a 2nd phase, under which only developed countries will cut their emissions. Furthermore, they were determinant to have more details on the Climate Green Fund and the post-2012 reduction pledges of the rich nations.

Such move was interpreted by the developed and rich nations as renegotiating the Cancun Climate Agreements. This is partially true. Earlier in Cancun CoP16, many Annex-1 nations (Japan, Russia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Turkey) refused to sign any extension to Kyoto Protocol. Their fundamental problem is that it doesn’t include the major emitters, namely: the US, and China. This position didn’t and will not change.

“Renegotiating Cancun Agreements” cannot be rightly taken as the ultimate labelling to the developing countries stance. Unlike what the mainstream media indicated, their position can be interpreted into two separate points:

1-    With regards to a second phase of Kyoto, the developing countries need to realise that no beneficial climate action can be done without having them on board. In order to take an efficient action, all emitters need to reduce their emissions. Otherwise, if agreed on a second phase, the efforts of the rich nations will be useless because of the emissions leakage, and wasteful because of the high costs. Therefore, an international collective action is a fundamental condition to combat the climate crisis, yet this is not sufficient. It should be associated with differentiated reduction targets and distributional costs and benefits. The developed countries should take on rigid targets while supporting the developing ones in achieving their sensible targets, and this takes us to the 2nd point.

2-    With regards to setting the reduction targets and details around the climate finance, the developing countries were actually following up with the agenda of Cancun. Setting these details is ought to happen this year, if any post-Kyoto agreement is to take place. Developed and rich nations are expected to put forward the required targets, and accelerate the adoption of the climate fund. So far, they collectively failed to raise the needed fast-track fund for the first year, in a time we are approaching the middle of the second year.

The two points are complementary. Both sides need to present positive proposals. Developed nations should sort out the climate fund modalities and define the sources according to the recommendations of the High-Level Advisory Group, as well as setting their post-2012 targets. While the developing ones should set their future development plans with low-carbon growth put into considerations.

The unfortunate event of Japan’s earthquake will shift its stance in the negotiations. It is not in the Japanese interest to raise the price of carbon emissions in a time they will highly rely on fossil fuels energy, more than before. Their large dependence on nuclear power has proved to be unsustainable, and with the need to deal with Fukushima crisis, it is not feasible anymore, at least on the short term.

The UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, stated that this dispute might result in a gap period between Kyoto Protocol and a successor agreement. She will be facing a real challenge this year. There is no room left for “Building Blocks” or “Focused” Agreements. The week in Bangkok has ended with slight changes in the negotiation’s agenda, on which all Parties have agreed to work towards a comprehensive and balanced outcome at the UN Climate Conference in Durban in order to achieve the implementation of Cancun Agreements as well as issues that were not resolved at Cancun, but which are part of the Bali Roadmap 2007.

Perhaps, Bangkok talks have reflected the real atmosphere of decisive-oriented negotiations. When it comes to the hard decisions to be taken, developed and developing countries are taking polarised stances. The different sorts of free-riding tendencies by all Parties will cool down the negotiations and heat up the climate. The next round of talks in Bonn will give a clearer indication of Durban CoP17 constructive outcomes, if any.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Comprehensive review of Cancun Climate Agreements and prospects for CoP17, 2011

A photograph captures the heavy floods in Pakistan, 2010. By Adrees Latif/Reuters.

Going through almost 100 pages of Cancún Climate Agreements and another 100 of analysis from both the media and academia was not a delightful task to do during last month, given that the summit didn’t reach any genuine results. The more you dig, the more disappointed you become. The “set of focused” agreements was celebrated as building blocks for a real comprehensive agreement next year. This is a truly over-optimism. Unless serious negotiation rounds take place throughout 2011, there will be no final effective agreement signed in CoP17, Durban. We will be faced with either a gap period of delayed post-2012 action, or a virtual gap of weak and ineffective action; that is a continuation to Kyoto Protocol (KP) or a similar form of agreement.
Summary of the outcomes:
In short the agreements didn’t resolve any of the fundamental issues. The big and hard decisions were postpone to next year. There was neither actual commitment on raising the emission cuts pledges, nor clear definition of the post-Kyoto agreement. However, the agreements have drawn the headlines of many issues among which is “the controversial” REDD+ Scheme (Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forests Degradation), and the Green Climate Fund. More mechanisms and modalities were introduced for: Technological Transfer, CDM (Clean Development Mechanisms), MRV (Measurement, Reporting, and Verifications), ICA (International Communication and Analysis), prioritising the Adaptation over Mitigation, focusing on Building Capacities for the Developing and Least Developed countries, and introducing a review process for validating the scientific targets. These are mainly built on Copenhagen Accord. The low-expectations before the summit had made of adopting these agreements an achievement. Most importantly, the distinction between the developing and developed countries is more blurry now. Certainly, these are important foundations for a comprehensive agreement, yet we are in time lag for the increasing climate damages. The mitigation and adaptation costs are sharply increasing.
The Negotiations:
The successful negotiations’ management by the Mexican presidency had played an important role. There was a more positive and transparent atmosphere between the delegates, which had led to a more open climate diplomacy. This has served to maintain the UNFCCC as a platform for negotiations. Moreover, the collaborative, rather than the rival, perception of a major organizations’ involvement such as MEF and G20 has created more forums for discussion. Ireland put forward new initiative to include UNEP and the WRI (World Resources Institute) as major players in the negotiations, and set some dates for formal meetings during 2011. The MEF presented a study shows that the World Trade can play an important role in shifting the markets toward low-carbon productions through supporting the environmental goods and increasing the pressure on the carbon-intensive ones. Yet, no action was taken in this direction.
The most controversial position this time was taken by Japan. It has announced its intentions to not sign any 2nd commitment period under Kyoto Protocol (KP2). This was followed publicly by Russia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Turkey, and privately by other developed countries. However, this didn’t mean total abandonment to any international treaty. It was a refusal of taking emission cuts burdens solely while the major emitter, namely the US and China, are not. Also, the changing economic dynamics over the last two decades resulted in having countries like Mexico under the non-Annex I countries while at a later point they became part of the MEF. Kyoto Protocol (KP) has proved in theory and practice to be an inefficient and ineffective policy to deal with climate change. Recent studies show that under the current pledges and mechanisms will fall short of the IPCC targets. Japanese stance was a wake-up call of how the negotiations scene will look like this year, CoP17. On the other hand, the developing countries are pushing for KP2 as they would face less economic disruptions. Ironically, the international community has raised its voice against the Japanese position, and remained silent about the continuous American ignorance to join any form of effective binding treaty. Finally, the Japanese position has resulted in agreeing on a scenario of KP2 that has no legal obligations for Parties to ratify it in CoP17.
Unlike the previous summit, China announced its willingness to introduce a voluntary target of emission cuts and include this target in a legally binding agreement. This offer was based on the conditions of having financial and technological support, in addition to commitment by all the nations, and specially the US. The Chinese position has eased the tone with the US in particular, and within the whole summit in general. This will put more pressure on the US that the future of post-Kyoto agreement is now within the American Congressmen hands. The Americans are still faced with the two options of either no regulations or weak regulations, under both they still fall short of their 17% target. The only chance for having tougher American commitment is a shift in the climate agenda toward national interest need rather than economic disruptive want. In the light of this argument, former US officials predicted the increase propensity toward adopting low-carbon energies in order to detach the army from its dependence on fossil fuels.
It has been reported by UNfairplay organization that there was low representation for the poor countries in the summit due to financial and communication issues. These countries delegates lack high skills and expertise in international law and negotiations, while they are the most affected and vulnerable to the climatic damages. Therefore, they must be supported to attend the summit and express their views. The position of rejecting the agreements is taken by only Bolivia this time. They refusal to sign the agreements is based on the lack of ambitious emission cuts and financial support. Despite that, the agreements were adopted by the conference and included a note of the Bolivian objection. However, Bolivia won’t stop at the objection stance; it will file a complaint at the International Court of Justice.
CoP17 Results:
The negotiations this time were full of ups and downs, yet they are certainly much better and more positive than the previous ones. The set of focused agreements are:
1.       Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Scheme (REDD+): the introduced forestry scheme in Copenhagen was formally adopted by the Parties. However, and as the official agreement recognizes, it still lacks a lot of details. Neither MRV mechanisms nor clear definitions of the indigenous people’s rights were introduced. What is more, there are high discrepancies between the definitions of degraded forestry’s and property rights across the nations and across the different levels of a government in one single nation. This makes a global unified policy inapplicable and more vulnerable to manipulation. Ignoring the corrupted cases in the current REDD applications, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, would create a threat to the world natural forest and undermine the international efforts to curb the emissions.
The introduction of REDD+ market mechanisms to raise the needed funds will carry the risk of privatising the natural resources. An effective scheme should rule out the possibility of financing through the volatile carbon markets. Study by Friends of the Earth shows that banks, energy suppliers, airlines, palm plantation corporations are the big benefiters from this scheme. Most of the proposed investments aim mainly to maximize returns. Scientific studies show that the proposed projects must target key areas that involve biodiversity features in order to maximise the benefits. REDD+ doesn’t address the real reasons behind deforestation, which are the environmentally inadequate trade and economic policies. The UNFCCC should come with clear definition of the projects that maximise the environmental benefits, protect the indigenous people’s rights, and incentivise investments.
2.       Climate Change Finance: was adopted on the same basis as introduced in Copenhagen Accord; Fast-start finance and Green Climate Fund. The agreement has recognized the “AGF on Climate Finance” recommendations. Under this fund there were many sub-funds created such as: Least Developed Countries Fund, and Adaptation Fund. However, the fundamental issues are not resolved yet. Observing the current practices from the fast-start fund, so far most of the donors are providing their funds as loans, debt reliefs, or part of the Official Development Aid (ODA). It is clear enough that this fund should be on the top of the ODA. However, according to the Development Assistance Committee – dac – the climate fund is “dac-able” and therefore it could be bundled with the ODA.
The agreement has failed to determine the ratio of the allocated funds between mitigation and adaptation. Also, there was no particular definition of the fund sources. This is a vital issue. The climate fund should be channelled through special sources and under different policies that make it distinct from the ODA. Moreover, periodical assessments should be conducted to determine whether these funds match the needs or not, and a set of MRV mechanisms is needed to be introduced as well.
Another issue is the governance of the climate funds. For example: the Adaptation Fund will be governed by the Global Environmental Facility as Interim Secretariat, and World Bank as Interim Trustee. There are big question marks around the credibility of having the World Bank (the biggest funder for the fossil-fuels projects) as a Trustee!!
3.       Measurement, Reporting, and Verification standards (MRV): the issue that created the biggest scandal in Copenhagen was resolved this time with thanks to the progressive proposal by India and the UNFCCC, in addition to the positive attitude by China and USA with respect to MRV.  The Indian delegate has introduced International Consultation and Analysis (ICA) measures. Under ICA, nations will declare their targets and produce periodical reports on how they met them. Unlike Copenhagen proposals, there will be no international monitoring and inspection, neither penalty’s. However, the internationally supported actions are subject to MRV/ICA standards in accordance with general guidelines to be developed. While the national supported actions are subject to domestic MRV in accordance with general guidelines advised by the UNFCCC. These standards should be finalised before CoP17.
4.       Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM): the agreement mentions that the standardized baselines and monitoring methodologies “can” be developed. Proposed improvements are in the areas of reducing transaction costs, enhance transparency and predictability, CDM governance and accountability, eligibility criteria, registration procedures, and increase the CDM projects’ access to the underrepresented regions and projects’ types. The Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) have been recognized as eligible projects’ activities under the CDM. This was despite of many Parties’ concerns about the associated risks with the CCS projects. The agreement identified but didn’t clearly address in details the issues that need to be reformed. Moreover, the restrictions on the types of the CDM projects maintain the carbon prices artificially high. On the top of all that, the controversial future of KP creates uncertainty in the CDM investments.
5.       Technological Transfer and Development: the agreement has established the “Technological Executive Committee” that is responsible to prepare the draft of “Technology Mechanisms” by CoP17. These mechanisms should include clear definition of the governance, financing, and property rights issues. The private sectors have to be incentivised through set of public policies in order to invest in the developing countries. Also, the mechanisms should build a stronger link between the technological transfers and the financial ones, and introduce MRV standards.
6.       Capacity Building: is the weak link between the financial and technological mechanisms to support the developing countries in their mitigation and adaptation. Parties decided that the Subsidiary Body of Implementation needs to prepare a draft decision on the outcome of “The 2nd Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Framework for Capacity-Building for the Developing Countries” by CoP17. However, there was no mention of improving these standards.
7.       Phasing out the fossil fuels subsidies & introducing levy on aviation and shipping: on these two matters there were no inputs from the conference what so ever. On the contrary, the EU has announced recently that it will extend its subsidies from 2014 to 2018, and the World Bank will keep subsidising these projects. It has been identified by G20 and other organizations that these two markets contribute to major chunk of the emissions, and policing them will single the markets to switch to the low-carbon technologies.
8.       Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF): the conference recognized the possibility of introducing cap on the LULUCF emissions. Modalities and mechanisms for further commitments related to LULUF emissions are to be identified in KP2. However, it suffers the same setbacks as the REDD+. There must be MRV, technological, and financial mechanisms introduced.
9.       Adaptation: the agreement has introduced new measures to enhance the adaption governance. It has established “Cancun Adaptation Framework” in order to manage the adaptation actions, support the NAPAs governance, enhance the relevant policies and mechanisms on all levels, and create measures for climate induced migration and displacement. In addition to that, it established “Adaptation Committee” that is responsible for governing this Framework. “Adaptation Work Programme” was created to consider addressing the loss and damages associated with climate change. Finally, “Adaptation Regional Centres” were commissioned to enhance networking and collective cooperation. Throughout 2011, Parties are required to provide inputs for a final structure to be agreed in CoP17.
10.   Mitigation:  the agreement has established a “Process for International Assessment” on the mitigation actions. In addition to calling both the developed and developing countries to submit reports concerning their emissions inventories and mitigation actions (MRV related issue).
11.   Markets solutions: the agreement called for promoting the establishment of market-based mitigation actions in the developing countries with the support of the developed ones. These will be built using the existing mechanisms included in KP. Also, it has encouraged “considering” the establishment of non-market mechanisms. The World Bank pledged multi-million dollars to support the introduction of Carbon Markets in the developing countries. However, carbon markets under KP are open to fraud, vulnerable to high volatility, associated with unrepresentative carbon prices, and contain a lot of offset loopholes. These are proven through evidences from the European Emission Trading Scheme. Cap and Trade and CDM have proved in theory and practice their ineffectiveness as market instruments to deal with climate change as global crisis. Various economists introduced the Carbon Tax as the most effective market instrument that produces real reductions and meets the 2°C target.
12.   Scientific Review Process: the agreements “identified” the need to scale up the current pledges to reach the 2°C target, and “recognized” the need to reconsider the 1.5°C target. For this purpose, a scientific review process will be conducted between 2013 and 2015. It is scientifically proven that the 2°C target is a global average and it will result in sever damages in some regions such as Africa that will face an increase of up to 5°C.
Remaining Challenges:

The biggest question is about the future of these agreements after 2012. The working group of Long-term Cooperative Agreement (AWG-LCA) has failed to reach a final agreed form on a legally binding agreement. The division between the developed and developing countries over the future of Kyoto Protocol is still the main hurdle. As I identified in an earlier article, there are five options for long term agreement:

1.       Kyoto-2 Protocol (KP2): similar to KP. It is based on Cap-and-Trade and CDM instruments for another commitment period with the same signatories and no action by the developing countries.
2.       Copenhagen Accord: Cap-and-Trade and CDM for all the nations under the 2°C limit.
3.       Kyoto-2 Protocol (KP2) with Parallel Protocol for the developed nations including the US: A suggestion by the EU, which states that KP2 is feasible but subject to the establishment of a parallel agreement for the developing nations, under which they are entitled to reduction targets. Also it has to address certain setbacks in KP such as the “hot air” problem in Russia and other former Soviet Union countries.
4.       Carbon Tax: (Economists’ most preferred instrument) universal and long-term agreement using different method of carbon pricing instrument, namely Harmonized Carbon Tax with Domestic Recycling (this will be discussed in details in a following article).
5.       No action: a gap period to reach an agreement.

As indicated earlier, the general directions are carbon markets and CDM. Developing countries are racing toward creating their carbon markets and NAPA (National Adaptation Plans of Action). However, these options won’t secure meeting the needed target what so ever. Global Carbon Tax is a fairer, more efficient, and more progressive policy. Research shows that carbon tax has a higher likelihood of full participation and compliance through a fair schedule of financial and technological transfers.

Emission Targets are another major decision ignored this year. According to an earlier assessment by the UNEP - Emissions Gap Report - the current pledges will fall short of achieving 2020 targets. Pledges need to be sharply raised by all Parties. Failing to meet the 2020 targets will make achieving the 2050 ones almost economically impossible.

Even though these “focused” agreements are adopted, yet they are inapplicable as they desperately require detailed guidance, modalities, and mechanisms. They will, indeed, create grounds for international agreement, yet we need to move faster. This will take us to another challenge: the sense of responsibility and urgency. So far most of the delegates are fighting over distributing the cost of meeting the carbon targets and the economic disruptions of shifting toward the low-carbon economy, yet the displaced nations and threatened environment have lower significance in their negotiations’ agenda. More challenges are rolling on including the energy security, food and water shortages, increasing populations, and poverty. Shifting the global economy to the low-carbon path is by far the answer to all of them.

“When you are in a hole, stop digging”
Despite the celebrated progress in Cancun, the actions agreed upon are not in the same pace on which the climate is changing. The cost of inaction (or delayed action) is much higher than the cost of action. Undoubtly the UNFCCC is a legitimate platform for the climate negotiations. It does foster actions on climate change. One can’t argue that climate change can be face with national and regional actions. The crisis is global and in order to effectively and efficiently reduce its impacts, the actions should be global.

However, there are three challenges facing this international platform: the number and diversity of the countries, the common consensus rule, and the decision making process under which all countries have the same voting weight. Alternatives?? Well, there is no option but to have all the nations act together collectively. However, national and regional level actions will help creating better grounds for the international negotiations. For instance: the EU regional plans had made it easier for them to have positive stance and be less pressured by the other nations’ actions. Having these layers of governments taking actions simultaneously while the agreement is being negotiated will make breaking down the agreement even smoother, and will curb some of the emissions. The current sub-international initiatives are fostering creative sectoral and inter-governmental climate coalitions. Moreover, they will benefit from the fast-movers advantage in the future global economic system.

As indicated earlier, the policy instrument is a vital issue in determining the distributional costs and benefits of the climate action. A Regulative Review Process must be introduced to examine the different set of policies introduced by the economics academia. The assessment should be built on the basis of environmental effectiveness, economic efficiency, and then political feasibility. The current market instruments are facilitating the privatisation of the global natural resources. The public rights must be protected, and the cost of action should be taken by those who caused the crisis not by the public.

Undoubtedly the lack of leadership, the geopolitical conflicts, and the business interests are forcing factors against quick progression in the agreement. However, there is a more important factor: the public or, in other words, the consumers. Recent general elections’ questionnaires show that most voters are not prioritising the climate change as a factor for casting their vote. Therefore, if the electorates (consumers) didn’t signal the governments (businesses) that impact on climate has became a major element in their decision making process then no serious actions will be taken. On the other hand, having the current economic crisis in place is a very strong reason for them [public] to drop one more issue from their agendas. The fact that combating climate change is going to disrupt their lifestyles and incur extra expenses is holding them back from such action. This calls for the need of social movements that lead and increase the public awareness about the dramatic future costs in case no action was taken now. The more financial disruption we face now, the less total costs will be confronted upon us. Moreover, regulations are needed in order to make sure that the highest stake of costs to be faced by the corporation’s and not passed to consumers. The arguments should shift from “what the economy can do to tackle the climate challenge?” to “how can the actions on climate change boost the economic growth in a more sustainable way?”.

Prospects for 2011 and CoP17, Durban:

Throughout 2011 each and every single UNFCCC meeting should be treated as important as CoP17. South Africa has called for a minimum of two ministerial meetings before the actual summit takes place. If progress this year followed the same pace of those in previous years, then CoP17 will not be concluded with a single step forward (below is the agreed time table of input submissions by all Parties). Along with these, governments who are willing to seal a legally binding agreement in CoP17 should pass parallel regulations in their chambers before November 2011. Pledges and mechanisms are needed to be nationally agreed upon beforehand. New initiatives of climate policies are need to be considered on the national level.

More importantly, all the major conferences by G20, MEF, OECD, and other organizations should address the climate agenda. The grounds for international governance should be drawn in these forums. The international NGOs have to excessively lobby the governments. They have to publish papers addressing the public and markets about the urgency and importance of taking action in CoP17. The public should priorities their votes based on environmental aspects, and shift their consumption behaviour to foster low-carbon growth.

Unfortunately, the dynamics of such collective bottom-up and top-down movements are not materialized yet. That said, it is unlikely that CoP17 will reach any constructive momentum. On the contrary, we are approaching and running through destructive momentums. The demand on oil is increase simultaneously with the increasing prices. The floods in Australia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Brazil have affected the food prices worlds wide.  The changing weather patterns are hitting all the agricultural activities. The irreversible impacts on the ecosystem are increasing, such as the regional decline in fresh water supply, and plants and animal extinctions.

Determination and responsibility are the keys for these radical movements to take place in 2011. Sense of urgency in reforming our economic systems and lifestyles must become the norms in this decade. Failing to meet our commitments toward the future generations and the environment will result in a brutal world.

Milestones for 2011 and beyond:
Concerned Parties
All Parties
View on setting an effective “Adaptation Committee”
21 February 2011
All Parties
View on setting an effective “Adaptation Work Programme”
21 February 2011
All Parties
View on “The guidelines and modalities for the financial and technological support” in response to the new ICA & MRV standards.
28 March 2011
Views and draft proposal on establish Market-based mechanisms for mitigation actions in the developing nations.
All Parties
Views and draft proposal on establish Market-based mechanisms for mitigation actions in the developing nations.
21 February 2011
Views and draft proposal on establish non-Market based mechanisms for mitigation actions in the developing nations.
All Parties
Views and draft proposal on establish non-Market based mechanisms for mitigation actions in the developing nations.
21 February 2011
Develop a “Work Programme” to measure and prevent the socio-economic consequences of the mitigation actions
All Parties
Submit views on the “Work Programme” to measure and prevent the socio-economic consequences of the mitigation actions
28 March 2011
Developed countries
To report their progress on the fast-start finance
May 2011,2012,2013
“Technological Executive Committee”
“Technology Mechanisms”
Proposal on the “Review Process” that will scientifically validate the adopted targets
All Parties
Information on Reference Levels on the LULUCF activities related emissions
28 February 2011
All Parties
Reference Levels on the LULUCF activities related emissions
May 2011
All Parties
Views on Global Environmental Facility as an independent financial organization
3 months prior to CoP17
Global Environmental Facility and Least Developed Countries
Views and feedback on “Least Developed Countries Fund”
August 2012
All Parties
Views and feedback on LDC Expert Group performance
February 2015
The Subsidiary Body of Implementation
Draft decision on the outcome of “The 2nd Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Framework for Capacity-Building for the Developing Countries”
The Subsidiary Body of Implementation
Draft decision on the outcome of “The 3rd Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Framework for Capacity-Building for the Developing Countries”
CDM Executive Board
Progress report on the Training and Information Materials Provision to CDM projects’ stakeholders
CDM Executive Board
Draft on the needed changes of the CDM procedures, regulations, and modalities.
All Parties
Views on “Right to appeal and hold the CDM Board to account”
28 March 2011
The Subsidiary Body for Scientific & Technological Advice
Draft for the “CDM Sector-specific Accreditation Standards”.
All Parties
Views on the “CDM Sector-specific Accreditation Standards”.
28 March 2011
CDM Executive Board
Draft of “New Eligibility Criteria for New Technologies”
All Parties and International Organizations
Views on the “Adaptation Fund”
Sept 2011
The Subsidiary Body for Scientific & Technological Advice
Draft for decision on including the Carbon Capture and Storage as an eligible project activity under the CDM
The Subsidiary Body for Scientific & Technological Advice
Views on including the Carbon Capture and Storage as an eligible project activity under the CDM
21 February 2011