TWN Info Service
on Climate Change (July09/02)
Dear friends and colleagues,
Below, please find some preliminary comments on these sections (mainly on paragraphs 63-76).
We hope you find this commentary useful.
Preliminary comments on G8 declaration
declaration mischaracterizes the mandate of the
declaration seems intended to join the separate negotiating mandates
declaration seeks to reinforce a 2°C target as a “consensus” position.
It says “we recognise the broad scientific view that the increase in
global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to
exceed 2°C” (para 65) Many scientists, and many developing countries
The declaration supports varying baselines for Annex I countries. It says “consistent with this ambitious long-term objective, we will undertake robust aggregate and individual mid-term reductions, taking into account that baselines may vary and that efforts need to be comparable” (para 65). Developing countries, by contrast, have consistently maintained that the agreed Kyoto Protocol baseline of 1990 should serve as the baseline for all future commitments, in order to ensure comparability of efforts and prevent countries from using different baselines to characterize meager reductions (from 1990 levels) as significant reductions (e.g. from 2005 levels). Allowing baselines to vary rewards those who have done the least to curb global warming since 1990, and allows them to continue to obscure the scale of their actual reductions.
The proposed global and Annex I Party goals support a massive taking by developed countries of the remaining global atmospheric commons. The declaration supports a global cut of 50% and an Annex I cut of 80% by 2050, and fails to provide clear mid-term targets for Annex I countries (para 65). Given the size of the Earth’s remaining carbon budget, these targets are only ambitious in the respect that they take from the South an atmospheric resource worth trillions of dollars each year without compensation, and deny them the atmospheric space they require to develop (without corresponding guarantees to technology, finance and compensation).
declaration proposes “quantified” actions for developing countries,
The declaration proposes reducing tariffs on environmental goods, without addressing developing country concerns. It calls for “the elimination or reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in environmental goods and services is essential to promote the dissemination of cleaner low-carbon energy technologies and associated services worldwide” (para 68). If fails to address the concerns of developing countries, raised in the WTO, that developed country proposals: 1) favor products of export interest to the developed countries; 2) impose disproportionate tariff cuts on developing countries; 3) affect the development of endogenous capacities and technologies; and 4) promote merely sale, rather than transfer, of technologies.
The declaration proposes expanding carbon markets, further exporting the burden of mitigation to developing countries. It commits to “further develop market mechanisms under the Copenhagen agreement to possibly include sectoral trading and sectoral crediting mechanisms, to enhance the participation of emerging economies and developing countries in the market ensuring environmental integrity” (para 69). In addition to securing an unjust and unsustainable share of the Earth’s limited remaining carbon budget, developed countries will seek to appropriate at low cost the small per-capita shares left for developing countries via the carbon market, allowing the rich to continue emitting while locking the poor into low and progressively lower per-capita shares of the Earth’s remaining carbon budget.
The declaration stresses “the critical role of an efficient system of intellectual property rights (IPR) to foster innovation” (para 73) despite studies showing that IPRs may be a barrier to technology transfer. Developing countries have noted the barriers that IPRs may pose to effective access to and transfer of technologies. Addressing the climate crisis, and deploying technologies worldwide in order to curb emissions by 2015 or 2020, requires we move from “business as usual” on IPRs towards more flexible approaches.
declaration fails to offer any substantive provisions on technology
transfer for the agreed outcome in
declaration calls for differentiation of developing countries in relation
to both mitigation and financing. On financing it states we
“affirm that all countries, except Least Developed Countries (LDCs),
should participate in the financial effort to tackle climate change,
according to criteria to be agreed, and we support consideration of
the proposal by Mexico” (para 75). Under the Convention, developed countries
are obliged to provide financial resources to developing countries.
As noted above, it calls on “major emerging economies” to undertake
“quantifiable actions” on mitigation. It seeks to link financing with
“emission reductions” in developing countries, when developing countries
have agreed to undertake “actions” not “reductions”. It supports a
It reinforces the World Bank’s role in climate finance. It says that “we stress the importance of building on existing instruments and institutions, such as … the Climate Investment Funds” (para 75). Developing countries, by contrast, fought for a “sunset clause” for the World Bank’s funds so that they would not compete with the enhancement of the Convention’s financial mechanism. They have also emphasized that future climate funding should be via the UNFCCC financial mechanism under the guidance of, and accountable to, the Conference of Parties. The UNFCCC is clear that financing should be undertaken principally through the UNFCCC financial mechanism (with financing from bilateral, regional and multilateral sources playing a supplementary role).
The declaration emphasizes the inevitability of adaptation harm to developing countries. It states “that even implementing ambitious mitigation steps will not avoid further climate impacts” (para 76). It fails to acknowledge, however, that these impacts are principally caused by the rich countries excessive historical and current emissions. It states “We will address these issues in a spirit of partnership between developed and developing countries and confirm our commitment to effectively address adaptation in the Copenhagen agreement” (para 76). But it fails to make any mention of the scale of funding required for adaptation and to compensate developing countries for climate damages, or to support the calls by developing countries for new institutional arrangement to address adaptation under the Convention.
The declaration implies support for nuclear and carbon capture and storage. It says “we witness that a growing number of countries have expressed interest in nuclear power programmes as a means to address climate change and energy security concerns” (para 89). And it states that “The development and deployment of innovative technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is … expected to contribute substantially to reducing emissions (para 91). It offers proposals on how these developments can be governed.