- Get Involved
- Understanding CCS
- About the Institute
Agreement on draft text for CCS in the CDM
For the first time in these negotiations, Wednesday’s Daily Programme for the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn seemed to do justice to the outstanding number of complex issues requiring consideration among the five subsidiary bodies. The sheer number of parallel meetings scheduled gave some indication of the slow progress made in the negotiating tracks of the AWG-LCA, AWG-KP and the ADP, and the workload placed on the permanent subsidiary bodies of the SBI and SBSTA.
Most of the substantive discussions on technology development and transfer under the SBI have occurred in closed sessions to the NGOs. This symbolises the political importance (and sensitivities) of this dialogue, especially within the context of the implementation of the two elements of the Technology Mechanism in 2012 – that is the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the choice of host for the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTC&N).
The TEC is scheduled to meet for a third time immediately following these negotiations here in Bonn (28-29 May), where they are expected to engage in a broad range of critical discussions. Topics for discussion include:
- the outcomes of these climate change talks;
- technology roadmaps;
- information platforms;
- thematic dialogue on enabling environments and barriers to technology development and transfer;
- inventory of work of institutions in the technology area within and outside of the Convention;
- how to link with other relevant institutional arrangements (such as linkages with the Green Climate Fund); and
- initial discussion on possible topics for technical papers.
All of these agenda items are critically relevant to CCS, and I will be attending the TEC meeting as an observer. CCS is a technology yet to be formally considered by the TEC, although informally it is well on the radar. In regards to the CTC&N, the highest ranked candidate out of the recent evaluation process is the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) consortium bid, and it is expected that the TEC will now proceed with negotiations with that consortium to establish how it will deliver on the objectives.
The twin issues of technology and long-term finance are discussed almost in the same breath by developing countries. Both were explored today in an AWG-LCA spin-off group, although it was difficult to understand why time was afforded to these discussions when the COP agreed workload before the AWG-LCA is enormous (and needs to be completed by COP 18), and there’s little formal mandate to contemplate such items in this body.
There was however unanimous support by developing country delegates to consider additional items on both technology and finance, so that they might potentially be communicated more formally to either the COP or TEC. Many expressed a view that these issues weren’t (or weren’t sufficiently) being considered elsewhere. Such items included (but are not limited to) looking into international property rights (IPO), more work on removing technology barriers and improving collaboration (current effort is seen as insufficient), closing funding gaps (between targets and sources), and considering funding targets over the 2013 to 2020 period (after the US$32 billion Fast Start fund ends and before the US$100 billion a year Green Climate Fund commences).
Not surprisingly on the technology discussion there was substantial push-back by developed countries who indicated that the TEC was formally tasked to consider such issues, had a work plan that it was implementing, and as such should be allowed to undertake its work before loading it up with peripheral tasks. Views were expressed that these discussions appeared largely duplicative in effort and purpose.
On the funding issues, it was indicated that any attempt to set targets to provide for the gap between the end of the Fast Start funding (2012) and the start of the Green Climate Fund (2020) should be avoided, as political agreement on the two was reached on entirely different premises. The long-term finance includes both private and public sector contributions, and is conditional to developing countries adopting enhanced mitigation actions (although one developing country delegate disputed this). The Fast Start on the other hand is solely sourced from public funding.
And so it is clear that a diversity of views and differing negotiating positions (and strategies) continue to prevail at these talks.
Image: Delegates from developing countries discussing comparative negotiating positions.
Encouragingly, CCS in the CDM is one agenda where views of all Parties seemed to have converged in a fairly efficient manner. After five sessions of the contact group, agreement on the draft text has been reached. Today’s final contact group was open to NGOs, and was literally completed within 15 minutes, with all Parties satisfied with the text that was drafted.
The text essentially leaves the issue of global reserves open (this issue seems not to have been materially considered). Perhaps delegates considered this discussion is best left to another time and place – maybe the proposed intersessional meeting in Bangkok in September. The UNFCCC secretariat has indicated however that it may not have the finances to host another meeting similar to this one in Bonn, and instead may opt for specific workshops.
In regards to the transboundary movement of CO2, where emissions are captured in a country and transported across borders to a storage site, a technical report is to be drafted for SBSTA’s 37th session. The report is to address:
- international law and frameworks relevant to CCS project activities which involve the transport of CO2 from one country to another or which involve geological storage sites that are located in more than one country;
- possible options for transboundary CCS project activities, and obligations arising therefrom, including:
- the assignment of liability;
- options for sharing the obligation to address a net reversal of storage;
- environmental and socio-economic impacts and remedial measures to address them; and
- monitoring requirements in the context of transboundary CCS project activities.
- possible resolution mechanisms for any disputes, including with regard to liability, that may arise between host Parties.
It appears to be a reasonable suite of issues for SBSTA to explore, and could contribute directly to establishing the appropriate modalities and procedures that provide for transboundary CCS projects in the CDM.
The overall timeframe to resolve transboundary issues gives some scope to be somewhat longer-lived in the UNFCCC process than perhaps was initially anticipated by some of the CCS community present at these negotiations. But it is unlikely to have a major impact on the number of CCS projects expected to be submitted to the CDM in the interim.
This text will now be presented at the closing Plenary on Friday 25 May and is expected to be subsequently approved. The next step for the CCS community and other interested stakeholders will be to respond to the call (yet to be announced) by the UNFCCC secretariat to provide technical submissions on transboundary issues by 13 August 2012. They will then draft a synthesis report for SBSTA’s consideration at its 37th session (in Doha).
If you would like to contact Mark while he is in Bonn, please do not hesitate to email email@example.com or phone +61 439343117.
Topics:Policy legal and regulation