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Day 5: Climate Action Network: Latest Developments at COP21

December 4, 2015

On Day 5 of COP21, another text has been released to include bridging proposals by co-facilitators. Watch the webcast here to find out more.

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Facilitator: Ria Voorhaar (CAN International)

Speakers: Sven Harmeling (CARE), Kelly Dent (Oxfam)

Sven noted that a few countries have disrupted the review of the 1.5°C goal. In particular, the Arab group blocked substantial recommendations and only wanted to agree to procedural conclusions. India and China held the same stand but were more diplomatic in raising their concerns on it. Nevertheless, Sven mentioned that the COP is allowed to take up the issue again if necessary. He added that progress has been made with a bridging proposal put forth on loss and damage. This is compared to the previous document which allowed for the exclusion of text on loss and damage.

Kelly stated that talks are getting more political, with developed countries suggesting the no-text option despite developing nations’ need for help. She commented that while climate finance has seen momentum thus far, it is still nowhere near the US$100 billion target. She added that no country has responded to the African group’s proposed compromise on having $32 billion of climate finance as a minimum. She urged for negotiators to start making compromises even before the ministers arrive. Two options for post-2020 finance have been put forth: (1) expanding the base of contributors; (2) creating a collective finance target. The EU, Japan and US support the first option, with the US clarifying that new contributors should not have the same responsibility as current contributors. Kelly identified finance for adaptation as a greater concern because the 50-50 split between adaptation and mitigation finance has been removed from the text.

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Q&A session:

How well are we doing now compared to the end of the first week in Copenhagen?

Sven: We are better off at least by looking at the text. We already have institutions like the Green Climate Fund which we do not have to discuss further, unlike in Copenhagen.

Kelly: We have more momentum than what we had in Copenhagen. But we need to remember that the bandwidth of the agreement has been narrowed. Copenhagen had a 200-page text before the ministers arrived, compared to our 38-page text now.

Are there common grounds or huge divergences surrounding discussions on the ratchet mechanism? Is the atmosphere constructive or destructive in negotiating rooms?

Kelly: There has not been any movement in the ratchet mechanism and there will not be one until finance is on the table. This is because developing nations to be guaranteed of financial and technological support before they are willing to make commitments. The atmosphere in negotiating rooms has turned fairly brutal because politics are seen at play for the first time in actual negotiations. Very sharp confrontations were seen, with developed countries putting forth maximal positions. It is a good thing that makes discussion sharper about where the differences lie in, and what will be taken to the ministers.

Sven: The text is technically manageable, and loss and damage has seen an improvement. Some text is also picking up on the concerns of vulnerable nations. However, there still needs to be analysis to discern if the text will be in its final form soon.

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What will not be kicked to the ministers? What will get resolved in the next 24 hours?

Sven: The text has already been streamlined and most agreement has been reached at the technical level. However, since all issues are interconnected, it is not possible to resolve one issue without consideration for another.

Are there any further details on the loss and damage text?

Sven: The bridging proposal will put the Warsaw mechanism as the centre. It does so in a way that provides some framework, without definitively detailing what needs to be done. It is still useful because the text is no longer a simple “yes” or “no” response.

What did Saudi Arabia do?

Sven: The chair actually came up with four options to debate the need to strengthen the long-term goal to 1.5°C. Saudi Arabia stated that it could only accepted procedural conclusions, while other countries expressed interest in procedural conclusions and some recommendations. India and China preferred procedural conclusions because they could not see agreement in the room.

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What criteria would determine the countries that are in the position to be new contributors to climate finance?

Kelly: The metrics could be based on responsibility and capability. But those methodologies are not very mature in the text. Regardless, we need to remember the differentiation between obligations of developed nations and the contributions of other nations which are able to.

What is your reaction if we have campaigns to reduce military expenditure so that money can be allocated towards climate finance?

Kelly: There are already many campaigns out there like that of divestment. These campaigns are a lot stronger than Copenhagen’s. A more diverse and a bigger civil society has emerged, and they have started to get more traction.

The Lima text initially had good language on how countries may be questioned on their INDCs. However, this text was taken out at the last moment. Where does this text stand in the Paris agreement?

Sven: There is discussion going on stock-taking – to look at what we have now and how far we are still away from our goal. But the secretariat can consider equity in future analyses.

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