02 December, 2011

Europe’s idea of a Durban mandate to draft a new deal

Sergio Abranches, from Durban

Negotiators for the European Union have been trying hard to ensure COP17 parties that the proposal for a pathway towards a new legally binding agreement is not an attempt to evade responsibilities nor to reduce the level of ambition regarding emissions reductions.

EU negotiators spent most of their time yesterday on consultations with several G77+China countries trying to make clear their idea of a roadmap and timeline to a future legally binding agreement. Tomasz Chruszczow, delegate from Poland, the country now holding the presidency of the European Council, told journalists that many countries raised doubts about the EU proposal, expressing concern that there would be a violation of the Climate Convention. “That is not our intention”, he asserted. Nor is it to delay action, he added: “a legally binding framework is needed as soon as possible”. The EU is looking for a Durban mandate to negotiate it to be signed no later than 2015. Chruszczow explained that this pathway and timeline are one of the conditions for the European Union to consider a second period of commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

The EU delegate said there are four conditions: a document to make it clear that the new legally-binding agreement should be based on the Bali Action Plan and the Cancun Agreement, and that it should preserve the main elements and mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol; to clarify what specific mechanisms the agreement should have, and that it should be legally-binding; that the agreement should have commitments from all major emitters, in terms of differentiated obligations; a clear timeline should accompany the roadmap containing deadlines for each step, especially that the agreement should be signed no later than 2015, and be implemented as soon as possible, up to 2020 at the very latest.

Chruszczow hinted that a way to observe the clause of differentiated obligations would be to consider per capita emissions against per capita GDP. This would allow the targets to differentiate between level of emissions and targets for emissions reduction, as well as the need for development of each country. He also said that there was progress in their discussions with G77 countries, and that the EU was able to clarify that its proposal is not addressed to shift the burden of mitigation to other countries. “It is a honest proposal to face climate change.” The EU “wants a credible binding solution,” added EU chief climate negotiator Arthur Runge-Metzger. “It is not aiming at a free for all environment, although there are countries trying to push it back to a free for all arrangement.”

Runge-Metzger explained the EU is not evading its historical responsibilities either. “The EU acknowledges its historical responsibilities and takes the responsibility to lead the mitigation process.” He claimed the EU is already doing it, because its emissions are falling regarding the 1990 level, while its GDP continued to grow. But, he warned, “we will not succeed only on the basis of historical responsibilities. Other countries will have to come aboard.”

The EU negotiator insisted that there is a gap of ambitions, and that the pledges made in Cancun are no enough to meet the 2C limit. It is “feasible to close this gap by raising ambitions.” This means going beyond the Kyoto Protocol, and to review the Cancun pledges to measure this gap, and see what actions will be necessary to close it in the coming years.

It is becoming clear that the if the outline for a new agreement comes to light it will be a revised version of the Cancun Agreement under a legally-biding form.

Tags: , , , , ,