Info Service on Climate Change (Jan09/01)
Developing countries call for a more “equity oriented” shared vision to implement Climate Convention
Poznan, 12 Dec (Matthew Stilwell) – Developing countries have called for a more equitable global effort to tackle climate change matched by deeper emission reductions by developed countries in order to avert dangerous climate change and to provide sufficient “atmospheric development space” for developing countries.
Some countries called for a more ambitious global mitigation effort to avert rising and potentially catastrophic impacts on the poorest countries and communities. Some also called for deeper emission reductions by developed countries, both to support a more ambitious global effort and to ensure the burden of doing so is not shifted inappropriately to developing countries.
These views were expressed in formal written submissions by developing countries to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The submissions were made by the countries during the December UNFCCC meeting in Poznan, Poland, and they were compiled by the Secretariat in a document as inputs to be considered for a Chairman’s document (known as the Assembly Document) on views of member states that in turn could be used for making a draft to be negotiated for the outcome of the Copenhagen meeting of UNFCCC in December 2009.
The contributions were on the theme of a “shared vision” to implement the Convention and other elements of the Bali Action Plan, which are being addressed in a subsidiary body to the Convention known as the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA).
noted, the submissions reported here are contained in the document entitled
“Ideas and proposals on the elements contained in paragraph 1 of the
Bali Action Plan: Submissions from Parties” (FCCC/AWGLCA/ 2008/MISC.5/Add.2),
and were submitted on or before 6 December as additional contributions
to the Assembly Document compiled by the Chair of the AWG-LCA, Mr. Luiz
Machado of Brazil. This article focuses primarily on written submission
by developing countries in
Under the Bali Action Plan, Parties are to agree on a “shared vision” for long-term cooperative action to “ensure the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention”. This shared vision is to include a “long-term global goal for emission reductions”.
The Bali Action Plan also commits Parties to agree on mitigation “commitments or actions” for developed countries, as well as “mitigation actions” for developing countries supported and enabled by financing, technology and capacity building from developed countries.
Submissions by developing countries responded, in part, to proposals by other Parties in the negotiations – including those by some developed countries.
A number of Parties have proposed a global goal for emission reductions of 50% from 1990 levels by 2020. The G8 developed countries, for example, have said they seek a shared vision of “achieving at least 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050.”
A number of Parties have also proposed emission reductions by developed countries in a range of 25 to 40% from 1990 levels by 2020 and in a range of 80 to 95% from 1990 levels by 2050. The European Community (EC), for example, has called on developed countries to collectively reduce emissions by 30% by 2020 from 1990 levels.
These figures draw on information contained in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and in particular the Contribution of Working Group III (for example, Chapter 13, page 776, Box 13.7), which summarizes a variety of studies that seek to link climate outcomes (e.g. atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations or temperature levels) with levels of participation by different countries or regions in reducing emissions.
The effect of these proposals, read together, would be to define a global framework for burden sharing between now and 2020, including the efforts of developed and developing countries, set within the context of a global goal for 2050 in terms of emission levels (e.g. cuts from 1990 levels), atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations (e.g. 450ppm) and/or temperature increases (e.g. 2°C).
The EC’s proposal confirmed concerns held by some developing countries that a global goal and mitigation commitments for developed countries would be used – implicitly or explicitly – to establish a “residual amount” or “target” to be addressed through actions by developing countries, sources said.
In the recent submissions, some developing countries questioned the way that developed countries are using information summarized in the IPCC report. Some countries proposed alternative approaches to defining a shared vision and global goal for emission reductions. Some have also said that effort-sharing or burden-sharing is a political/equity issue that must be resolved by Parties to the Convention on the basis of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities, and is not merely a question of science of the kind considered by the IPCC.
Equity concerns – the extent and distribution of global emission cuts
The Small Island Developing States said that a 2ºC increase compared to pre-industrial levels would have devastating consequences on small island states as a result of sea level rise, coral bleaching, coastal erosion, changing precipitation patterns, increased incidence and re-emergence of climate related diseases and the impacts of increasingly frequent and severe weather events.
They called for temperature increases to peak well below 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels, for atmospheric GHG concentrations to stabilize at well below 350ppm, and for global emissions to peak by 2015 and reduce by more than 85% by 2050.
Even at ranges for emission reductions addressed in the IPCC report and other relevant sources the Small Island Developing States will be “challenged to survive and provide a livelihood for their population”, they said.
Developed Countries, in a joint statement during the final day of the
“Current and unsustainable emissions pathways of the Annex I countries should not be ‘grandfathered’ into a new agreement through allowances or ‘emission rights’ that are inconsistent with principles of effectiveness (based on the emerging science) and equity (based on an equitable effort sharing arrangement)”, it said.
These and other submissions by developing countries raise at least two key questions of equity for the negotiations. One relates to the extent of global emission reductions – if emissions are not cut deeply and rapidly enough, then poor countries and communities will suffer disproportionate effects and costs of adapting to climate change.
The other relates to the distribution of global emission reductions – if the burden of reducing emissions is not fairly shared by developed countries, based on equity and common but differentiated responsibility, then poor countries and communities may suffer disproportionate effects and costs of mitigating climate change.
Additional questions of equity are raised by the nature and level of financing, technology and capacity that are to be provided by developed countries to support and enable nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries and to enhance action on adaptation, in accordance with the Bali Action Plan.
Understatement of climate risks
Some developing countries have said that the information summarized in the IPCC reports may understate some key risks associated with climate change, suggesting the need both for deeper global emission reductions and for deeper emission reductions by developed countries.
Noting the risks of “tipping points” for abrupt climate change, and the importance of action commencing “now” to implement the Convention as required by the Bali Action Plan, it said that these factors should be considered in discussions about a shared vision and global goal, as well as about mitigation commitments for Annex I Parties. It called for “fast start” strategies to tackle climate change.
Developing countries’ proposals for developed countries’ emission cuts
In relation to levels of emission reductions by developed countries, the Small Island Developing States called on developed countries to reduce emissions by more than 40% by 2020 from 1990 levels, and by more than 95% by 2050 from 1990 levels, thereby exceeding the ranges set out in the IPCC report (e.g. as included in Box 13.7).
Developed Countries, in their joint statement during the final day of
Without referring to specific ranges, Bolivia called on Annex I countries to take on emission reductions significantly deeper than those set out in the IPCC report on the basis of: (a) emerging scientific information; (b) equity and historical responsibility; (c) carbon embedded in infrastructure and other assets; (d) national levels of capital, technology and capabilities; and (e) the need for guarantees that financing and technology will be transferred to developing countries in an adequate, predictable and transparent manner.
quantification of these commitments is an issue to be addressed within
negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol, as part of a second and subsequent
and commitment periods, and has no role in the AWG-LCA, said
Two developing countries proposed that Annex I Parties be ready to undertake even deeper cuts in emissions – by more than 100%. One of the countries described this as having “negative emissions.”
“We call on Annex I Parties to be ready to go well beyond reducing 100% of their 1990 levels of emissions over the longer term” in order to provide sufficient atmospheric resources or carbon space for the full realization by developing countries of the Right to Development, and to provide an adequate and predictable basis for the provision of financing and technology, as well as for compensation for restricted development opportunities and for adaptation impacts”, it said.
the fact that developed countries may seek to undertake some emissions
reductions outside their territories,
Developing countries’ proposals for approaches to “shared vision”
A number of developing countries proposed specific approaches to defining a shared vision and associated elements of the Bali Action Plan. These include calls for an integrated approach to shared vision, for efforts to evaluate current and historical responsibility, and for specific goals on technology and financing.
“Non-Annex I Parties envision a long term goal which successfully integrates the means of implementation (finance, technology, and capacity building) needed to support mitigation and adaptation actions, delivered through a coherent approach and based on best available scientific information”, it said.
This would define an equity-oriented long-term approach to cooperation that is consistent with the provisions of the Convention and Bali Action Plan in which developing and developed countries would confront together the climate change challenge in decades ahead, it said.
These written proposals, offered by developing countries during the Poznan climate talks as additional contributions to the Chair’s “Assembly Document” of ideas and proposals, will likely be discussed as part of negotiations of a shared vision and associated elements of the Bali Action Plan during 2009, including at the Fifth Session of the AWG-LCA in Bonn on 29 March to 8 April 2009, and in the run up to the fifteenth Conference of Parties Meeting held in Copenhagen in December 2009.