Mistakes made at Copenhagen may get repeated at Doha climate talks

Qatar could ask ministers to short-circuit negotiations

By Indrajit Bose
Published: Saturday 01 December 2012

At the end of the fifth day of the Doha climate talks on November 30, the president of the Conference of Parties (CoP) held an informal meeting of all parties “in the spirit of transparency” to take stock of how negotiations have progressed. The session happened around the time news spread that negotiations will go into closed-door mode—what are called green rooms—when ministers of more than 190 countries arrive early next week in Doha. Speculation was rife on November 30 night in the Qatar National Convention Centre that this move came with the tacit support of some developed countries.

The move gave rise to fears of a repeat of the 2009 Copenhagen CoP where secret meetings and “chair texts” had led to much bitterness among parties, resulting in complete lack of consensus and no decision being arrived at. Such a move could even render the ongoing negotiator-level talks held so far redundant. Meanwhile, the CoP president reiterated at the meeting that the ministers’ presence must be capitalised upon and that “political resolutions” to key decisions must be obtained. While there will be clarity on the “spirit of transparency” next week, it is no secret that parties so far have not been able to reach any consensus on several crucial aspects.

Ideally, Doha CoP will be considered successful if it delivers the promises made at Durban last year—smooth transition onto the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol and successful closure of the Ad hoc Working group on Long-Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) along with all its elements involving issues related to finance, technology transfer and intellectual property rights. These continue to remain sticking points, which parties acknowledged at the informal meeting, reaffirming the North-South divide for the umpteenth time (see 'Stocktaking').


Algeria (on behalf of G77 and China):
The stakes reside in the work of LCA. Work of the chair will be under scrutiny.

Switzerland (on behalf of Environmental Integrity Group):
One should be aware of the whole picture. Welcome additional stocktaking. Doha package needs to be realistic and ambitious.

Nauru (on behalf of Alliance of Small Island States):
Talks are falling short. In the Kyoto Protocol track, the ambition is inadequate. Urgency and ambition are missing in the Durban Platform track (ADP) as well. Discussions need to be intensified. AOSIS expressed concern over finance. Green Climate Fund should not be an empty shell. It must be fully operational before next year meeting. Parties should agree to peaking year as well as establish international mechanism for loss and damage.

The EU
Progress is not even. Much remains to be done. In ADP, it is essential to capture progress in both work streams. In Kyoto Protocol, the technical and legal progress has been slowed. Political choices may not be ready in time. Then, Parties are a long way from producing the LCA text. That needs to be done quickly. There has been some progress in finance, but it is important to involve ministers in it right way.

Gambia (on behalf of Least Developed Countries):
The status of negotiations is very clear. Kyoto Protocol is not progressing as it should. Progress on the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol is fundamental to any outcome in Doha.

Swaziland (African group):
A text is needed in the ADP track. Means of support important, and success depends on the level of commitment by the developed world.

It is crucial to agree on a medium-term objective for finance. Guarantees are needed that support will be continued.

The Kyoto Protocol track is filled with low ambition. It is unacceptable that those who are not party to the Kyoto Protocol will enjoy the benefits of market mechanisms under it. There is a strong tendency to promote new market mechanisms. They are not solutions to the climate crisis. Increased ambitions are needed. Now, not after 2015. Where is the commitment on technology and finance?

A quantum of issues still need to be resolved in the areas of finance and adaptation.

Lots needs to be still done to achieve mandated package. It is important to have ministers’ engagement early next week and it would be useful to draw up a set of questions for the ministerial round-table.

There are divergent views in the KP and LCA tracks. They are all related. Mitigation ambition, finance, adaptation, means of implementation cut across all tracks and therefore it is important to have a process that is cross-cutting for a balanced package. This also requires political intervention.






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