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Daily Tck: Day 5 of the UN climate talks in Geneva

By February 12, 2015 No Comments
  • Geneva’s draft ‘Negotiating Text’ published online 
  • Negotiations over pre-2020 ambition and cycles of action continued 
  • New report from WWF focuses on specific near-term action opportunities for biggest emitters 
  • More discussion over crux issues and June session priorities to take place Friday

It’s official! The UN climate talks in Geneva gave birth to a draft ‘Negotiating Text’ at 10pm on Thursday evening, weighing in at a hefty 86 pages of options and ideas for the new global climate agreement. With that, governments have achieved their primary objective for this session, but negotiations aren’t done yet.

Boosting climate action prior to commitments under the new agreement taking effect – i.e. between now and 2020 – is another important objective, and negotiators dug into the topic on Thursday morning. Government envoys used a significant chunk of the day to build on conversations about where to focus a series of meetings with technical experts later this year. They discussed how the UNFCCC’s finance and technology mechanisms can speed the adoption and scaling-up of solutions; what role outside institutions and other non-state actors might play; and many rightly emphasized how developed countries slow pace of emission reductions and backsliding on climate finance commitments have hindered potential progress.

There’s a lot that this process could help achieve toward boosting government’s pre-2020 ambition, but what countries will agree over the course of this year on remains unclear. In the meantime, it’s crystal clear that the next five years are vital in the battle against disastrous climate change. To point governments toward immediate steps they should take on their own, WWF published a report matching the best opportunities – from scrapping coal-fired power stations and increasing renewables to improving energy efficiency, strengthening emissions targets and addressing deforestation – to specific countries, based on their individual circumstances.

Negotiators also used Thursday to better understand perspectives on some of the crux issues they hope to progress at the next session. We saw growing support for our partners’ call for short cycles of action – meaning governments would revisit their climate action commitments every 5 years instead of 10, as some would prefer. Shorter cycles are essential to capture new opportunities born out of quickly dropping renewable energy costs. In just this last month, forecasts were updated to show solar energy costs reaching parity with fossil fuels in 80% of global markets by 2017; and renewables will be the cheapest source of energy in Asia’s biggest markets within the next decade. The US, and a number of blocs of developing countries (AILAC, AOSIS, SIDS, CARICOM and LDCs) made comments in support of short action cycles Thursday afternoon. Work is still needed to convince the EU and a number of LMDC countries to get on the right side of the issue.

On Friday, negotiators are scheduled to discuss another crux issued – digging into various proposals for how to ‘differentiate’ between obligations that countries might adopt based on their respective responsibility and capabilities. They also plan to brainstorm more broadly about how to approach the next round of UN climate talks, which are scheduled to take place in Bonn this coming June.

News, links & useful grist that caught our eye

Adopt a Negotaitor focused on pre-2020 ambition and what specific countries like China can do.

IPS ran a story from our Tracker Denise Fontanilla on the role and our partners hopes for gender in the talks. Climate Central’s John Upton took up the questions and hopes surrounding a long term goal.

RTCC’s team interviewed Giza Gaspar Martins, the Angolan diplomat leading the Least Developed Countries group, and a senior negotiator for the Maldives, who just assumed presidency of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Both emphasized the importance of loss and damage and climate finance.

We also starting to see how press around the world is interpreting this week’s developments. Media on the whole seems generally positive. Pakistan’s Business Recorder titled their piece ‘Progress in Geneva with climate pact blueprint.’ Alister Doyle focused on legal form in his round-up for Reuters; the AP picked differentiation, legal form, finance, and markets and the long-term goal as crux issues shaping the work ahead; AFP focused on an interview with CAN France’s Alex Mounie; and the Financial Times picked up on renewed energy around bunkers. India’s press was slightly less positive, demonizing the US for its efforts to change how developed and developing countries should be defined after 2020.

Resources

While we linked to a few highlights above, you can see more of Geneva’s more play-by-play updates and dig into the issues through the lens of Adopt a Negotiator’s trackers on the ground.

Our friends at the Climate Action Network International are publishing daily ECO newsletters laying out their case to negotiators.

IISD’s reporting service is publish daily summaries and photos here.

The hashtags to track are #UNFCCC and #ADP2015. We’ll join the conversation via @tcktcktck and @adoptnegotiator.

We’ll also keep you abreast of developments in the wider world of climate activism and action at tcktcktck.org and publish related communications briefs at treealerts.org.

Joshua Wiese

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