The men of paper are still negotiating the future of life in Lima. Clarity has started evolving on number of issues including watering down of the language of old draft decision text. The new text has been drafted by the co-chairs Artur Runge- Metzger and Kishan Kumar Singh of Ad- hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhance Action (ADP) with the help of UNFCCC Secretariat. It was done after the agreement in an informal conversation termed as “Friends of Chair” meeting. The idea was to propose synthesized version with consolidated inputs of all parties. For developing countries, the given text in no manner looks like consolidation and reflect the views of few parties and not all. Developing countries are raising red flags as according to them, most of their suggestions have not been included where- as the interventions of certain parties (in all probabilities referred to developed countries) have been added to it.
China is not happy with the procedure of not including its core ideas and questioned the rationale of the co-chairs in proposing the new text. It’s important to note that many of China’s inputs are there including those on “annexure-1” i.e. complementary information on Intended Determined Contributions of parties (iNDCs) which is now “annexure -2” in the new document. China’s interventions are covered in Option -3 & Option- 5 of annexure and more to do with detailing of actions taken by parties to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Ecuador and Bolivia, chair of G-77 + China, raised questions about fairness of the process.
Venezuela was too loud in expressing its lack of clarity as the new draft makes reference to number of texts which are yet to be prepared. This makes the process very confusing. India sided by all of them. I’m sure while reading this you must also be left perplexed. But what can I do, the whole process is complex, leave aside lay men like you and me, the negotiators are also clueless of the happenings.
Adding more fuel to the fire, the non-paper of CoP 20 has been up-graded, updated and renamed as “Elements of draft negotiating text”. This has made most developing countries present in the plenary session uncomfortable, they are questioning its and the new draft decision text’s legal stature. The elements of draft negotiating text are yet to be given a new shape which in all probability will be pushed to the next Conference of Parties in Paris. Today’s session opened with these views and is going on. The chair clarified that the two proposed texts have no legal standing on their own till they are accepted by all parties. And renaming of the non-paper was done to distinguish from ‘irrelevant’ submissions floating around and also to increase its stature.
Concerns of developing countries like food insecurity and poverty are addressed in the proposition of co-chairs.
“Affirming its determination to strengthen and scale-up adaptation action through the protocol, another legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention to be adopted in 2015 in the light of the critical importance of resilience to the sustainable development of all Parties, food security and the eradication of poverty,”
Mitigation is still the core of the “intended nationally determined contributions”. Adaptation as a component has been added to the draft text but its language remains feeble compared to what has been stated regarding mitigation:
Paragraph 11- Agrees that:
(a) Each Party shall communicate a quantifiable mitigation component in its intended nationally determined contribution which represents the highest level of mitigation ambition, beyond its 2020 commitment and actions undertaken under the Convention and/or its Kyoto Protocol, towards achieving the objective of the Convention as set out in its Article 2, guided by the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of evolving national circumstances;
(b) Parties with greatest responsibility and those with sufficient capability are expected to take on absolute economy-wide mitigation targets, and that all Parties should aspire to this over time, guided by the principles of the Convention;
Paragraph 12- Further agrees that all Parties should consider the inclusion of an adaptation component in their intended nationally determined contributions, including adaptation actions with mitigation co-benefits based on their national adaptation plans, and that the necessary level of ambition in enhancing climate resilience through intended nationally determined contributions may include:
(a) Mainstreaming of adaptation actions towards ensuring sustainable development pathways of countries’ actions;
(b) Implementation of actions beyond those currently undertaken by Parties under the Convention or its Kyoto Protocol;
(c) Work with the international community to advance global efforts for those areas beyond Parties’ capacities;
The numbers of options in the annexure to gather information about iNDCs have been increased and the number of paragraphs decreased. In the original draft decision text the role of private sector, cooperative initiatives, sub-national authorities and civil society was appreciated. It was in the opening of the draft. The same has been pushed deep inside and only invitation is extended to take action instead of an open applause. There are many more changes and all of them have been termed as unfair by developing country parties.
In all the parties it was Bolivia which was majorly disappointed as its proposal of quantifying Green House Gases in the atmosphere and the available space, its ‘equitable’ distribution in developing countries has found a very partial reference in the document. The session was adjourned after receiving the suggestion from Japan to read the new text and start the process instead of arguing about unfairness. The co-chair Runge- Metzer adjourned the session by saying that the new text will be read paragraph by paragraph, line by line, comma by comma, full stop by full stop and parties make interventions on the same as it does have many consolidated inputs, the ones which are not there can be added in the next reading.
Confession: Many of the paragraphs and phrases may go over your head. I apologize for the same. I’ve tried my best to simplify whatever I could. The only consolation I can give is that this can be a good starting point to get back to the basics of international governance and climate policy. And we can learn more and yes! Climate policy is not rocket science.