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Day 8: Climate Action Network: Latest Developments at COP21

December 7, 2015

Ministers have flown in to present their national statements and participate in negotiations. Watch the webcast here to find out more.

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Facilitator: Ria Voorhaar (CAN International)

Speakers: Mohamed Adow (Christian Aid), Martin Kaiser (Greenpeace), Celine Chareriat (Oxfam)

Mohamed thought that Paris is headed towards two outcomes – a weak deal of a 3°C world, or a world that limits emissions to below 1.5°C. He emphasised that the review of re-submissions of INDCs would be a good way of achieving the long term goal.

Martin noted that “climate neutrality” and “decarbonisation” are terms that remain unclear in the text. Conversely, he commended that the text includes an acceptance of differentiation. He stressed that having a clear long term goal like “zero emissions by 2050” will send a strong signal to businesses that fossil fuel consumption will cease. He stated that the biggest risk that Paris faces is a locked-in ambition for the next 50 years without 5-year review cycles.

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Celine focused on a need to create a finance package and would like to see greater clarity on mitigation finance. She said that a good text could involve developed countries committing to Copenhagen’s proposed US$100 billion a year, with more money allocated for adaptation and new targets set every five years thereafter. She was glad that there is still text on post-2020 finance, but warned that rich countries’ request to expand the donor base has held negotiations back.

Q&A session:

How were the facilitators for the negotiations chosen?

Martin: The German Minister was chosen to facilitate the finance issue because Germany has proposed to double its financing. This would serve as a bridge to manage the interests of rich and poor countries. However, Germany has also been subsidising coal consumption. The Brazilian Minister was chosen to facilitate the differentiation issue because it has formulated a potential bridging proposal that considers the interests of the US and the island states.

Why is the language of the long-term goal so important?

Martin: Paris needs to send a clear signal to businesses that fossil fuel consumption should end by 2050. Vague words like “climate neutrality” and “low-carbon economy” are too unclear for investors to interpret. For instance, investors may question how low an amount of carbon should low-carbon economies have.

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What countries are specifically blocking the ratchet mechanism?

Mohamed: All countries want a review of mitigation actions, but may not be as willing to define review mechanisms in the text. The submission of the INDCs is an indication of climate commitment. However, some countries prefer to revisit the INDCs in 2024, which leaves no buffer time to review the INDCs before they come into action.

Celine: In terms of finance, AILAC is a major supporter while the Umbrella group and the EU are detractors. But countries that are in the position to finance and should be legally-bound to do it.

The COP President would like to have the text submitted by mid-week so that it can be translated in time. Is that goal perceived as positive or negative?

Martin: Everything which helps to put pressure on the negotiations is highly welcomed. President Fabius wants the negotiations to be structured so that it does not end in chaos.

Would Article 22’s call for 75% consensus as a fall-back (compared to 100% consensus) be useful to prevent a watered down agreement?

Martin: There is a need to define what consensus means. President Fabius is still aiming for 100% consensus, but this could lead to a weak deal.

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