Day 2 has come to end at UN climate talks here in Geneva, and the “Elements for a draft negotiating text” is now longer than ever.
Updated versions of sections C and D (General/Objectives, Mitigation) have already been released, with the first growing from 2.5 to 4 pages, and the second from 3.5 to 12.
Adaptation, Loss & Damage and Finance are also expected to grow significantly, as today we heard over 3.5 hours of statements from countries on these topics alone.
However, this snail pace changed rapidly in the afternoon, as technology development and transfer, capacity-building and transparency of action and support raced against the sun to see who could set into the Swiss alps the soonest.
According to my estimates, the document is going to exceed the 60 pages by the time all sections are done tomorrow. In my view, countries have been trying to place their supported language repeatedly throughout the entire document in order to increase their survival chances when the guillotine “streamlining” sessions drop their razor blades tomorrow afternoon.
For this reason I fear the celerity we’ve appreciated in these two days will be an old memory, as negotiators will don their boxing gloves and bruise it out.
This (very) long text contains very weak proposals as well as very good ones – and it currently sits in the foetal womb, ready to let fate take control.
With all the options currently on the table, it’s probably still premature to dig in and predict its future. But as of today, the document presents, inter alia, everything we need to deliver a fair and ambitious agreement by the end of the year.
This is especially the case on mitigation.
While this might get a bit geeky, I particularly like Option 2 in paragraph 13.2 of the “Long-term and global aspects of mitigation”. While it doesn’t seem to represent the exact ideas of any particular country, it is likely inspired by interventions from the African Group countries such as Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa:
“All Parties shall cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that, consistent with emissions peaking for developed countries in 2015, they shall aim to reduce net emissions to zero by 2050, and further recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries, bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries, in the context of equitable access to sustainable development”.
At this stage, we haven’t yet seen circus act negotiations unfold between delegates; however, it is undeniable that country positions are beginning to solidify.
- AOSIS, AILAC and LDCs want adaptation and loss & damage to be treated as two separate topics. AOSIS has also made a call for L&D to be in the Paris Agreement and not in the COP decision;
- The Maldives, on behalf of AOSIS, requires the insertion of a 1.5°C temperature increase goal, instead of the 2°C one.
- The United States asks for a shift from current Annex-system and compositions: no longer I and II, but brand new Annexes X and Y.
- In the finance section, the African Group believes some options are completely different from each other, as options 1 and 2 in paragraph 34.
- Panama and Tuvalu are calling for connections between L&D and finance; in particular, they would like a special window in the Green Climate Fund for compensation.
- Kiribati also asked the Co-chairs for a greater sense of ambition in the whole text, stating that they’re in the frontline of climate change and amongst the most vulnerable countries when it comes to sea level rise.
During each section, the Co-chairs continued their resolute stance with negotiators, keeping them on track, and eventually interrupting them when they attempted to streamline or debate the current text.
In conclusion, we should enjoy the remaining few peaceful hours and perhaps, sleep a little more tonight.
It may be the last peaceful sleep of the week.