TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Feb08/04)
20 February 2008
Reports of the previous two days were sent earlier.
differences in UN General Assembly climate debate
Differences of views emerged between developed and developing countries over the "Bali Roadmap" (the follow up to the Bali climate conference last December), especially on what should be the future of a "post 2012 regime", on the third day (Wednesday) of the General Assembly thematic debate on addressing climate change.
Diplomats from member states who had not addressed the Assembly on Tuesday took to the floor of the GA hall to make their statements.
Some developed countries referred to a "post-Kyoto regime" or to a "successor to the Kyoto Protocol after 2012", implying that the Kyoto Protocol is about to expire.
But in contrast, some developing countries reiterated that the Kyoto Protocol is not dead, nor would its life-span be over in 2012, and insisted that the industrialized countries (referred to as Annex 1 countries ) commit to targets for reducing greenhouse gases in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, beginning in 2013.
speakers also criticized the adaptation fund, whose structure was set
to address climate change are lagging but that is not because there
is a deficiency in the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol," said
"It is not an agreement to replace or supersede the convention or any of its principles. We have agreed to step up the contributions from developing countries, with actions in the context of sustainable development. Actions that are measurable, reportable and verifiable; with the condition that these actions are supported and enabled by measurable, reportable and verifiable technology, financing and capacity building.
is not like developing countries were incapable of taking these actions
success through this year and next year will not be just in finding
some consensus language and text that we can all agree to. Our success
will be in making breakthroughs in unlocking the toolbox, and in availing
the required financing and technology that can really make a difference,"
the representative from
view as reasonable the attempt to organize future climate work in the
UN system on the basis of the UNFCCC's strategic areas (adaptation,
mitigation, technology and finance), including in particular sectors
(energy, transport, health etc.)," said
"The EU is willing to reduce GHG emissions by 30% by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) in the framework of an international agreement. We will in this case even commit to a 40% reduction. A climate-friendly restructuring of our economies is both possible and affordable. Ambitious climate policy does not constitute an obstacle to economic and sustainable growth. On the contrary, climate protection makes sound economic sense. It is a driving force for innovation and employment."
said that despite the comprehensive nature of the UN Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC), background documents for this thematic debate
have erroneously referred to "framework/comprehensive global agreement"
while referring to the agreed outcome of the Bali Action Plan. (
mechanisms of the UNFCCC, like the negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol
for GHG reduction commitments for Annex 1 parties post-2012 have also
been ignored," added
"Current mechanisms to promote cost-effective and affordable access to advanced clean technologies for developing countries have not been very successful. The UN must play a leading role in this area by promoting joint research; country-driven approaches incorporating existing capacities; adoption and diffusion of technology; greater focus on adaptation technologies; and most important of all, a facilitative IPR regime that balances rewards for innovators with the common good of humankind.
"The issue may be difficult: the UN must grasp the nettle and not bypass it in background documents. Similarly, there is urgent need to provide new and additional financial resources to developing countries for addressing climate change, without diverting resources meant for development.
"The role of the UN cannot merely be limited to assisting developing countries in formulating policies to enhance climate change-related investment flows. It would be myopic to believe that such national efforts would be sufficient to raise the large resource flows required.
"Instead, the UN must assist in the development of financial mechanisms and funds for effective resource flows into developing countries. On mitigation, rather than identifying mitigation strategies by developing countries, the UN should focus on how developed countries can sharply reduce their GHG emissions.
this regard, the UN should play an active role in advocacy by urging
developed countries to meet their commitments, and to take further ambitious
GHG reduction commitments. The UN should also identify various ways
and means by which developed countries can take action in mitigation.
The developed countries must reduce their emissions so that the developing
countries can breathe and grow," said
would also caution against using discussions on climate change to influence
other ongoing processes like the system-wide coherence or the International
Environmental Governance. While the UN Chief Executives Board can play
a role in coordinating UN system efforts, we would like to see much
greater member state oversight," said
UN had made an important contribution by building up the political momentum
for the successful conclusion of the Bali conference," said
"One important area where the UN can and must make an important contribution, as part of an integrated approach to sustainable development, is the implementation of the commitments already made to address the challenge of climate change including in the four areas of mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance.
"The UN through the GA and ECOSOC can devise new mechanisms or use the existing ones to effectively monitor the implementation of internationally agreed goals including MDGs and those commitments under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol."
While saying the Secretary-General's report has made a number of interesting suggestions to enhance the capacity of the UN system to assist countries in meeting the climate change challenge, Pakistan asked where the resources needed to undertake those steps will come from.
"We must ensure that the existing resources are not diverted and that adequate provision for additional resources is made to allow the UN system agencies to take on the climate change responsibilities as mandated by intergovernmental decisions."
New Guinea (PNG) said that in looking forward from
we are to succeed, we must acknowledge that primary responsibility for
global warming and its consequences today falls primarily upon industrialized
nations, including the resulting mitigation and adaptation challenges
all of humanity must now face," stressed
"We seek leadership by example. We say, please show us how deeply emissions can be cut in all industrialized countries, rather than simply pointing fingers at the poor in developing countries. Therefore, all industrialized nations must demonstrate leadership by reducing carbon emissions within their own borders through deep and hard targets. This concept has to be the bedrock for any future international agreements on climate change."
In response to addressing the deforestation problem, PNG said that if deforestation causes 20% of global emissions, then we must allocate 20% of available resources to address this important source of GHG emissions. "The current UNFCCC mechanism to fund adaptation within developing countries is frankly unethical," said PNG.
"How can we justify taxing developing countries through a 2% levy on CDM trades only, for adaptation costs that are no fault of their own? In any enlightened society, those primarily responsible for the damage must pay for corrective action," asked PNG.
It said that adaptation taxes should be levied against carbon trading of Annex 1 countries and not be deducted from the fractional revenues derived by developing countries from the CDM. It said that the current structure is "untenable and unconscionable."
The Adaptation Fund, it said, was undercapitalized and will be unable to cope with even modest adaptation needs unless it is buttressed by substantial voluntary contributions from developed countries.
"Additionally, it is necessary to fundamentally review the debt obligations of developing countries through the prism of climate change. Many of us are still paying for infrastructural investments that are no longer viable, or whose effective lifespan will be severely curtailed by climate change. Many of us have to borrow more to retrofit previous investments, which are often funded and designed and built by foreign lenders.
"It is illogical and immoral that we continue to pay developed creditor states for items whose very use is compromised by their actions. The gravity of the climate challenge also forces us to abandon longstanding proprietary paradigms of technological exclusivity. The world cannot sacrifice its collective climate security on the altar of private profit or outmoded concepts of intellectual property.
"The developed world and the scientific community must find ways to quickly and freely place emerging green technologies and capabilities into the hands of those who need them most urgently. Measurable, reportable and verifiable cooperation in the fields of technology, capacity building and financing are not charity. They are shrewd investments against future global catastrophes.
"Further, the profound developmental implications of climate change must necessarily trigger a fundamental reexamination of the international community's approach to developmental assistance. Development commitments made in the past - before the impact of climate change was fully understood - must now be reconsidered.
"And those of us in the developing world must clearly consider the developmental impact of not only climate change, but also the measures being employed to address it. For example, the rush to biofuel production will barely dent the developed world's appetite for fossil fuels, but has already made the basic foodstuffs noticeably more expensive in many developing states. We cannot allow ourselves to be negatively affected by both climate change and its proposed solutions," it stressed.
"Many governments are faced with immediate priorities like improving living standards. They need economic growth, resources and energy, in particularly fossil fuels, to achieve these goals. It will be difficult for them to accept a framework that impedes their development. But this does not mean that addressing climate change and economic growth are mutually exclusive." +