It’s the last day of the UNFCCC Intersessional and after a full week of meetings, there’s no sign of the work letting up. I am sat in the coffee shop in the UN Centre and although the meetings don’t start for another half an hour it’s already full and there’s a buzz about the place. Everyone is hoping that the discussions today will consolidate and bring together all the work undertaken on the three negotiating tracks, the Ad Hoc working group on Long Term Co-operative Action (AWG-LCA), the Ad Hoc working group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc working group on the Durban Platform (ADP).
Each of these groups looks at different things but they all contribute to our aim of building the international climate change regime required to limit global average temperature rises to below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. In essence the AWG-KP is working to agree a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol (which basically means new country level emissions mitigation targets for the next period, which we would like to be to 2020) as the first commitment period expires at the end of this year. Alongside the AWG-KP, the AWG-LCA looks at how countries can work together to deliver progress toward agreed targets through, for example, the provision of finance or technology by developed countries to support action in developing countries.
The newest negotiating track is the ADP. It is the ADP which we hope will deliver a successor to the Kyoto Protocol in a manner which allocates the burden for reducing emissions between all countries rather than simply amongst the countries with the highest per capita GDP. Since 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was established the global economic order has changed considerably and so we need to find a means to ensure that the new economic powers whose emissions are rising rapidly are also incentivised to play their part in a way that is fair and equitable.
The UK’s aim for this meeting has been to make progress on the package agreed by Ministers in Durban (COP17) at the end of last year in order to allow for decisions to be made at COP18 in Doha this year. Our objectives for Doha include a workplan for negotiating a new global legal agreement applicable to all parties to be adopted in 2015, progress on increasing pre 2020 mitigation ambition, the adoption of a 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and progress on implementing previous decisions on building an international climate regime including the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Committee and Technology Mechanism. The UK is not letting up in its efforts to get a global legally binding agreement. Though the UNFCCC process moves a step at a time, the progress made last year in Durban showed what can be achieved.
Overall, I think there’s a strong sense of Bangkok having provided a positive impetus for the Doha COP. Some areas of work have undoubtedly been sticky. There remain concerns about how some of the issues that have historically been discussed in the LCA will be resolved and no doubt these issues will be the subject of much debate when everyone reconvenes in Doha in just over two months time. However, I think after what was a difficult start to the year when everyone met in Bonn in May, Bangkok will see people heading home feeling a little more positive about the future. Fingers crossed.
I myself will be glad to get back to Qatar and turn my attention properly to the arrangements that are needed to ensure our delegation can deliver in November. In addition to all the technical issues I’ve encountered this week, I now have a much better understanding of how hard the negotiators all have to work. After one week I’m exhausted and I can only imagine that when we all get to the end of the Doha negotiating fortnight, we’ll be dead on our feet.