Basis of post-2015 climate deal slowly emerging

Publish date: February 13, 2015

Representatives from nearly 200 countries gathered in Geneva this week, 8-13 February 2015, with the aim of tailoring the basis of the post-2015 climate agreement that is to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. With COP 21 in Paris only ten months away, the amount of proposals for the agreement has expanded substantially as all countries want to have their voice heard. Given the turbulent nature of the UN climate negotiations, wrapping up a session of talks with a text that satisfies all Parties can be considered a tangible success.

Negotiations at COP 20, which took place in Lima last December, were marked by sharp divisions between developed and developing countries (although this ageing division is showing some cracks), and failure to address a number of fundamental issues, including the formal review process that would be put in place to assess the post-2020 emission reduction commitments as well as whether the agreement will be legally binding.

In order rectify mistrust and stir negotiations on the treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat prepared a 38-page document of key elements, referred to as the Lima Draft, to which participating countries were invited to contribute at this week’s session. This resulted in a 90-pages long draft of proposals which has left the majority of participants satisfied. “It’s an everybody text” said Giza Gaspar Martins, a diplomat representing Angola.

The section of the draft text dealing with “greenhouse gas mitigation strategies” for instance expanded from 3,5 to 11,5 pages. One new proposal tabled, calls for the creation of an economic mechanism that would create an enhanced global carbon market for the use of countries with “quantified economy-wide absolute targets”. Developing countries on the other hand, reiterated that the inclusion of the topic of ‘loss and damage’ and climate compensation are fundamental pre-requisites to the conclusion of the agreement.

What has been achieved so far is a compilation of proposals reflecting Parties’ respective positions. The next step is to negotiate it, when Parties convene again in Bonn, Germany in June. The real challenge would be to reconcile reflection of different national circumstances in reduction targets with the application of this bottom up approach legally.

In November of last year, Member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) provided recommendations to the UNFCCC calling for strong incentives to be provided to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) within the post-2015 global climate agreement. Bellona, who actively contributed to the formulation of these recommendations, calls on the UN community to consider the necessity of CCS in limiting global temperature increase to 2°C.

To see the latest version of the negotiating text click here.

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