With so much drama and negotiations running in parallel sessions, one would have hoped for a serious outcome
Last week more than 150 world leaders gathered in Paris to show their solidarity and commitment towards climate change. The parties started a day in advance and have been negotiating non-stop since then, working even on a Sunday, to try to come to an agreement.
The parties participated in plenary sessions and tried to put their points across. For unresolved issues they discussed in informal and spin-off sessions and for issues not resolved even in these parallel sessions, they resorted to holding discussions in informal-informal sessions behind closed doors and in the corridors.
With so much drama and negotiations running in parallel sessions, that it was difficult for countries with smaller delegations to even attend all, one would have high hopes of a serious outcome.
The draft text released on December 9 proves otherwise. Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment’s analysis of the new draft text—a step prior to the final agreement—finds major compromises and signs that the Paris agreement is moving only towards a weak deal.
Some of the major issues that are currently being negotiated on which an outcome will come by end of this week are as follows:
- There are disagreements on the temperature goal as currently three options are being negotiated—below 2 degrees Celsius, well below 2 degrees Celsius and below 1.5 degrees Celsius
- Island countries are supporting the addition of 1.5 degrees Celsius in the text. India also is willing to have 1.5 degrees as it is not responsible for what has been emitted so far but wants other issues negotiated for it to agree
- Developed countries should voluntarily reduce more emissions than mentioned in their INDCs for the world to stay under the temperature goals
- Equitable distribution of a global carbon budget based on historical responsibilities and climate justice has been removed from the current draft text. This is now mentioned in the draft decision text accompanying the agreement text
- The section on international transport emissions, including aviation, has been removed and does not find any mention in the new draft
- India is being targeted for having coal as a major source of energy in the future. CSE has done a press conference and explained India’s dependence on coal
- Financial commitments on climate adaptation are specified, but no concrete commitments have been given in this regard so far
- The global goal on adaptation based on assessment of needs and adequacy of support has been removed in the new draft text
Loss and damage
- Loss and damage is a red line mainly for the island countries but in the ministerial meeting discussions it has been noticed that there are chances that it might be diluted
- The views on loss and damage have been as divergent as having a separate section for it to also not having it in the agreement at all
- There is no mention of liability and compensation in the new draft text
- This is expected to be what can make or break the Paris agreement as this is one of the most contentious issues in the current negotiations
- Japan and France have already announced more funds and many more developed countries are expected to follow suit, but the mechanism they will offer funding is being questioned
- “Other Parties may on a voluntary, complementary basis, provide resources to developing countries, including through South-South cooperation initiatives” is a new addition to the draft text which is non-committal contribution expected from developing countries
- There are efforts to link climate finance, including for building resilience in developing countries, with international development assistance. Developing countries have always demanded climate finance to be separate and additional to Overseas Development Assistance
Technology transfer and capacity building
- Solar Alliance and Mission Innovation formed which will help in reducing the cost of renewable energy and improving research and development facilities, although the two initiatives are vague about how the funding will be materialised
- The latest version of the draft COP 21 text also has some weak language on technology transfer. Although it calls for the creation of a framework for technology transfer and development, it does not explicitly mention IPR and emphasises assistance in early stage technology transfer and development
- Developed countries are trying to remove differentiation and dilute the convention by removing Annex (developed) and non-Annex countries (developing)
- Solve this and most of the issues with the draft agreement are sorted, most negotiators believe
- CSE has proposed a 10 point agenda to resolve this issue
- A stocktake will be done on the basis of the best available science. The scope of stocktake is retained to include mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation and support. However, countries have agreed to do first stock take in 2023/2024
- This part requires more negotiations as there is little clarity on whether it would be a unified or differentiated framework for transparency
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