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None of developing countries' concerns reflected in the negotiating text; closure of LCA in Doha looks difficult
The second week of the Doha talks opened amid high drama as developing countries unanimously rejected the “draft text” prepared by the chairperson of the ad-hoc working group on long-term cooperative action (AWG-LCA). Such a draft text details the areas of convergence and divergence on all issues that are to be taken up for further deliberations by Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
As per procedure under the Convention, the chair forms smaller groups called contact groups to discuss the issues under a track if the parties so demand. In such contact groups, parties submit their suggestions on what should be included in the draft text. Based on these, the chair compiles all agreed upon elements as well as options put forth for the unresolved elements into a draft text, which includes the views of all parties and it is then taken up for further deliberation. At times, the chair prepares his or her own version out of the discussions in the contact groups and the countries can agree to use that as basis for next round of deliberations, ask for changes to it or reject it outright.
On December 3, at the LCA meeting, developing countries found that their submissions were ignored and issues such as finance, technology and adaptation did not figure in the draft text. A decision on these crucial issues is imperative for the successful closure of the LCA track. The LCA track was created at Bali to work towards strengthening climate agreements in the long term. The Bali Action Plan (BAP), under which it was created, introduced the concept of comparability of effort with other developed country parties by those not under the Kyoto Protocol. This is particularly relevant to the US, which did not ratify the Protocol, but under the BAP, it will have to take comparable mitigation efforts as other developed country Parties. In Durban last year, parties agreed to close the AWG-LCA track.
The LCA track has a range of elements that were agreed to in keeping with the 2 degrees goal. These include shared vision, REDD, new market mechanisms, sectoral approaches, which include discussions on aviation and maritime emissions and others. Many of these elements are still being discussed under other tracks and are far from being concluded. “We couldn’t resolve these issues in the last five years. How do we do it in the next five years?” asked a negotiator from Singapore as countries such as Algeria, Philippines, and Bolivia minced no words to declare their disapproval of the draft text. Other countries who supported them included Nicaragua, Guatemala, Kenya, Malaysia, China, Egypt, Colombia, Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, India, Barbados, Venezuela, Indonesia, Mexico, UAE and Saudi Arabia.
They claimed that the text was heavy on market mechanisms, which the developed countries had proposed during the contact group meetings. “This document only focuses on the market (mechanisms). The value and demand of carbon has taken centrestage. Developed countries are not interested in adaptation, finance or technology transfer. We are in no condition to accept the text,” said a negotiator from Bolivia. To resounding applause from supporters, a negotiator from Philippines added that it was unacceptable that the draft decision of G77 and China and African groups did not figure in the draft text.
Nicaragua sought discussion on “all unresolved issues. Address all elements in a balanced manner. Nothing else will do.” Then, while Colombia said it was “profoundly disappointed with the text”, the delegate from Venezuela stressed at least five times that the text not only did not contain any proposal from the developing countries, but it did not even care to reflect their concerns. India added that a lack of agreement was not the same as a lack of mandate. “We have a mandate and this (unresolved issues) should be discussed. This text cannot be the basis of future discussions.”
The developed countries insist that market mechanisms and the concept of a global peaking year need to be finalised at Doha but claim all other issues have been resolved over previous years. They also feel that the developing world has not acknowledged their efforts to deliver the fast start finance—a fund, which was to mobilise US$ 30 billion between 2010 and 2012.
Developing countries claim it is not clear whether the money is additional and new, as was meant to be, and in a lot of cases, it was mixed with official development assistance, and even loans. Taking a dig at the developing countries, Japan said: “We have delivered on our fast start finance commitment. But developing countries have not welcomed the achievements of the fast start finance.”
The chair then tried to control the situation by explaining that he had not included issues such as finance, adaptation and technology in the draft text since there was no agreement on those issues. But the developing countries were in no mood to listen, making it clear that they cannot compromise on such crucial issues and any further discussion would have to include finance, technology and adaptation.
Clearly, and as expected, the fights will get more intense in the second week of Doha climate talks.