- Get Involved
- Understanding CCS
- About the Institute
A saga in the making for the newest subsidiary body
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn there was no informal contact group convened on CCS in the CDM on Friday 18 or Saturday 19 May, and the two sessions on technology transfer by the SBI and the joint SBI/SBSTA informal contact groups (no doubt including items on the TEC and CTCN) were conducted behind closed doors to the exclusion of NGOs.
However, as anticipated in my Tuesday 15 May blog, the UNFCCC Secretariat made a public call Friday for nominations of experts to the CDM's CCS Working Group. The announcement encourages CCS experts wishing to act as members of the CCS WG to submit their applications by 10 June 2012. Competency requirements can be found on the website cited above.
The main action over the two days was in the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), and the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). The AWG-LCA started its important work in earnest by allocating elements to spin-off groups, but there are still clearly tensions concerning how this work should be organised and ultimately when it should be completed. In the ADP, tensions over procedural issues dominated discussions.
The ADP had to vote on a chair in its second Opening Plenary on Friday (a vice-Chair is to be decided on at COP 18). There are three candidates representing three different negotiating regions: Group of Latin America and Caribbean States (GRULAC), Western Europe and Other Groups (WEOG), and Asia-Pacific. The acting President of the COP currently presiding over the ADP (in the absence of a chair being elected) is from GRULAC. After considerable argument about perceived conflict of interest an interim proposal for the COP President to choose an interim chair was adopted (excluding the current interim chair or any of the three candidates going for chair). A permanent chair will be elected before the end of this meeting in Bonn.
The ADP Plenary reconvened on Saturday 19 May with three relatively simple tasks before it. Accept the vice-COP President’s choice of a new interim Chair, Ms Sandea de Wet (South Africa) to preside over the ADP until an elected Chair is settled, adopt the provisional agenda that was before them, and organise the agenda into contact groups.
While the UNFCCC Secretariat strongly believes that this arrangement is a legally credible one within the proceedings of the UNFCCC, some delegates still needed convincing.
When the interim chair tried to progress the discussion on the provisional agenda, this also led to disagreement on whether some items were the domain of the ADP as interpreted from the COP 17 decisions, and whether there should be less focus on administrative and process bottlenecks, and more on the substantive issues needing to be explored.
After a four-hour session, the talks in the ADP plenary were brought to a close and a stalemate prevails. The interim chair characterised the negotiations as 'still hopeful' given that there is still ‘terrific spirit to make progress’. The ADP discussions have been postponed until Tuesday 22 May.
Importantly, there was a UNFCCC workshop on framework for new approaches and New Market Mechanisms on Saturday. In advance of this workshop, presenters put forward their views on how these approaches should look and feel – and generally there is a tremendous difference of views. For example, while it is clear that an emissions trading scheme is a market mechanism, feed-in tariffs are considered to be non-market based (even though price support is a major feature), as are direct actions in both the mitigation and adaptation space. Then there are some countries who advocate only for non-market mechanisms.
When the AWG-LCA working groups on frameworks for approaches and new market mechanisms convened, they saw multiple presentations on their design aspects. While interesting, a common observation for market approaches seemed to reflect that unless carbon prices rise on the back of demand for abatement, which is all linked to the health of implementing legally binding commitments over the second commitment period and post-2020, then there will be little scope for new market mechanisms given the already very low carbon prices driven by the current market mechanisms and lack of sufficient incentive to support greenhouse friendly actions. The low carbon prices however generally reflect efficient market outcomes according to the scarcity of emissions allowances (supply and demand) in the respective schemes.
Sunday 20 May is a rest day – one in which the interim chair of the ADP advised delegates to ‘get some sleep and come back on Tuesday in a less grumpy mood’.
The Daily Programme for Monday 21 May has also just been released (Sunday 20 May) – with no mention of the contact group for the CCS in the CDM reconvening.
If you would like to contact Mark while he is in Bonn, please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +61 439343117.
Topics:Policy legal and regulation