Forgot password

Measuring ambition...

Reporting from COP21 negotiations in Paris

Paris, 9 December 2015 | Energy

Magnus Ulaner* reports from the Climate negotiations taking place in Paris during the COP21.


Thursday, December 10th- day of waiting

At noon the Swedish delegation informed the Swedes in place on the situation in the negotiations. Some discussions were on the integration on gender and indigenous rights in the agreement and the EU position.

At 21 the Comité de Paris resumed in plenary.

A working process for the evening and night was presented and the new text was also handed out. The meeting was finished without any comments from the Parties.

  • This draft proposal has weaker language on climate goals than previously. It states that the world is to ”hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C”, but no percentages or year specified. In contrast, the parties shall endeavor to “aim to reach the peaking of greenhouse house gas emissions as soon as possible”, and to ”reaching greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century”.
  • The division between developed and developing countries is in large part remain, particularly with regard to funding, while the emission reductions take place "in light of the National Circumstances"
  • The long-term funding is made clear to at least $ 100 billion / year by 2020, which should come from developed countries, with great flexibility around what is included and how the funds are used.Green Climate Fund is not specifically mentioned.
  • Loss & Damage remains unclear, it may be a separate mechanism or the Warsaw Agreement may continue to apply.
  • Around transparency (measurement and reporting of emissions) are alternative about the differentiation that differ a lot
  • Aviation and shipping are not included at all
  • There continue to be clear openings to emissions trading, but they are as a whole in brackets. REDD+ are not included, but text on reduced deforestation are.
  • In the Preamble rights are acknowledged: “the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity.

Except for markets and Loss & Damage, few brackets remain, we might probably be relatively close to a final text.

Greenpeace had their sad and starving ice-bear at the conference to remind the delegates on the consequences of temperature rise in the Arctic.

Read More

Wednesday, December 9th

In Paris, the negotiations in the past 24 hours entered a sharper phase. In the afternoon the French presidency presented a new draft agreement text.

Yesterday at three o'clock in the afternoon delegates and observers flowed to the great hall to be presented with, the new draft of the agreement text. As an observer you may succeed to receive tickets giving access to the hearing.

Laurent Fabius, the French Foreign Minister, who is leading the negotiations, announced that a text on 29 pages had been developed which had significantly fewer sentences and paragraphs in brackets which countries did not agree on. He gave delegates until 8 o'clock in the evening to read and reflect, then reassemble.

The afternoon was spent on analyzing the text, with professionals from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and MPs from the Swedish Conservatives, Liberals and Left.

In the afternoon I also have a chat, about the state of negotiations, with Dan Reifsnyder, USA. He is one of the two chairmen in the negotiations, which started in Durban in 2011. A giant in these contexts.

At 20 o'clock the talks resumed in plenary. States were given the opportunity to comment on the text, it took about 3.5 hours.

Several developed countries put forward that the text is unbalanced, they want to break the Kyoto Protocol division between rich and poor countries. They also considered that the proposed mechanisms regarding the evaluation of countries' commitments was weakened.

South Africa for the G77 and China argued that parts of the text do not match principles of the Convention Climate Change from Rio 1992. They lacked clarity regarding sustainable emission levels and ensuring that rich countries provide funding and technology transfer to poor countries. China's statement was sparse, but confirmed trust in the negotiating process.

Maldives for the small island nations and Angola for the least developed countries said that we must keep below 1.5 degrees global temperature rise and the compensation for the climate-related damage is very important.

Malaysia and India raised the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and climate justice on the basis of the rich countries' historical emissions. Malaysia's charismatic chief negotiator noted soberly that "perhaps this text is indeed balanced, since everyone seems unhappy"

An hour after the meeting in the plenary was completed, negotiations in the so-called Ndabas, small groups, started. Delegates will had to work all night to solve a number of complex policy issues:

- Differentiation: How will the responsibility for emissions reductions and financing be divided between the countries?
 - Ambitions: Will 1.5 or 2 degrees exist in the text, how much should emissions be reduced to 2050/2100?
- Financing: How and who should finance the transition?

Despite these difficult issues an optimistic tone that is not common in these contexts are present. 

We might get an agreement in Paris. The question is whether it will be ambitious enough to keep us away from climate change that threatens people and communities worldwide.

* Magnus Ulaner is Environmental Manager at the Housing Europe Swedish member, HSB

Leave comments