COP-21 Roundup: Dec. 11 – Day 12

Published 08:20 on December 11, 2015  /  Last updated at 13:23 on July 5, 2017  /  Climate Talks, International, REDD  /  No Comments

We are approaching the end of the Paris climate talks, as COP President Laurent Fabius has said the final text will be out Saturday. Carbon Pulse will continue to post updates from COP-21 as they happen.

We are approaching the end of the Paris climate talks, as COP President Laurent Fabius has said the final text will be out Saturday. Carbon Pulse will continue to post updates from COP-21 as they happen.

2116 CET – SATURDAY END?  COP-21 organisers just announced the following: “A meeting of the ‘Comité de Paris’ will be convened in La Seine at 9am [CET] on Saturday 12th December 2015.  The COP Closing Plenary will take place later in the day.”

2110 CET – AUSTRALIA JOINS THE BAND:  Australia is the latest country to join the High Ambition Coalition, confirming its support for the group’s five main requirements:

  1. The ambition mechanism
  2. Firm recognition of the below 1.5 degree temperature goal
  3. A clear pathway for a low-carbon future
  4. Five-yearly updates
  5. A strong package of support for developing countries, including delivery of $100 billion per annum

The move will likely be criticised by green groups, who have classed Australia’s INDC as being one of the least ambitious ones submitted.  “This commitment will need to be backed by action at home for this support to be seen as credible through time,” said Erwin Jackson of Australia’s Climate Institute.

1804 CET – GREEN GROUPS WARN ON PARIS TEXT LINK TO FOREST OFFSETS: Several green groups have banded together to urge countries to block efforts to include in the Paris market mechanisms text the inclusion of wording that could allow the development of forest and land use carbon offsets. “The EU and the Brazilian government have a long held position that carbon markets must deliver environmental integrity. This new proposal could allow for forest offsets, and we understand this is being pushed by Panama on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations. It is hard to understand why other parties, like the EU and Brazil, would accept this,” said Paulo Adario of Greenpeace International in a joint press release that also was also supported by the Center for International Environmental Law and Rainforest Foundation Norway.

The text makes reference to ‘long term’ rather than ‘permanent’ emission reductions in an international crediting mechanism, and observers have said that some nations are pushing hard to get explicit language on REDD+ included in Article 3ter – the section on a new market mechanism. “Land and forest offsets are inherently non-permanent and should not be traded against fossil fuel emissions … To ensure climate integrity if there is a Paris agreement that includes markets, the text should retain the word ‘permanent’ rather than ‘long term’, to be consistent with what the science understands permanent to mean – hundreds to thousands of years,” the groups said. They added the current text is weak on accounting rules to ensure environmental integrity, which they said need to ensure emissions reductions are additional, verifiable, real and permanent.

1824 CET – CHINA PLAYS DOWN ‘AMBITION’ OF COALITION: In a press briefing China moved to deflect the significance of the newly-formed ‘High Ambition Coalition’ at the talks.

“This is kind of a performance by some members,” one official said.  “We believe that our commitments are very ambitious and we shall honour them. It makes no difference whether you are in that coalition or not … It was originally reported [the Coalition had] around 100 members. Actually, there are about a dozen.”

The coalition has been fronted by ministers and officials from several nations but some have questioned whether they are speaking on behalf of the negotiating groups they represent, which would take that number to over 100.

1625 CET – NORWAY EXTENDS RAINFOREST PROGRAMME: Norway on Friday extended its rainforest programme by ten years to 2030, Climate Change Minister Tine Sundtoft announced. Under the programme, Norway pays up to 3 billion NOK ($350 mln) per year to a number of countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia to manage their rainforest. Norway will continue to be a “major partner for developing countries that are prepared to take ambitious action”, Sundtoft said.

She made the statement at the same press conference that announced that Brazil has joined the “High Ambition Coalition”. Brazil has been the biggest beneficiary of Norway’s rainforest investments so far, having received 5.45 billion NOK ($630 mln) through the Norway-Brazil bilateral agreement. The dollar amount of oil-rich Norway’s pledge is valued considerably lower than previous years as the country’s currency has been hit hard.

1613 CET – BRAZIL JOINS ‘HIGH AMBITION’ COALITION: The Marshall Island’s Tony De Brum held a press conference announcing that Brazil had joined his ‘High Ambition Coalition’, which has claimed the support of over 100 African, Caribbean and Pacific States. The move appears to drive a wedge between the BASIC group of big-emitting developed nations. This coalition of rich and poor has said little on finance and differentiation (CDBR) but urges a clear and operational long-term temperature goal in line with science, long-term decarbonisation, a five-year review mechanism, and a system to track the transparency and accountability of countries in meeting their national commitments.

Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics at Greenpeace, believes the move could be an 11th hour game-changer at the talks: “Missing from the Coalition were any of the major emerging economies.  With this move, Brazil can become a bridge builder to the others,” he said.

1304 CET – NEW TEXT EXPECTED SATURDAY AT 9 AM: COP President Laurent Fabius now aims to present the final text from Paris at 9 AM CET Saturday morning.

1115 CET – MARKET COMPROMISE “WITHIN REACH”: A compromise on markets in the Paris agreement is “within reach”, IETA boss Dirk Forrister told reporters in Paris Friday. Thursday evening’s draft text, which included still [bracketed] text on cooperative approaches and a market mechanism, has the backing of parties such as the EU, the Umbrella Group, AOSIS and the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, he said. “It has the level of support that ought to get it over the line,” Forrister said.

But difficult issues remain, according to Lisa DeMarco, senior partner with law firm DeMarco Allan, especially concerning differentiation and forestry. On the latter, some rainforest nations are pushing hard to get REDD+ included in Article 3ter, which is where the new market mechanism is outlined.  However, NGOs don’t want forestry to be included in the markets text if the language says “long-term” emission reductions, like it does now, instead of “permanent”.

DeMarco described the current market proposal as a mechanism similar-looking to the CDM, but much more evolved, which would give it the ability to include much broader mitigation efforts than just the additional projects/programmes that were included in the Kyoto scheme. She also said the mechanism was broad enough to be able to host efforts in the aviation or shipping sectors, should nations at some stage decide to include those.

DeMarco and Forrister pointed out that the current text did not touch upon how a potential transfer from the Kyoto mechanisms to the new one would occur, and that this would need to be hammered out over the next year or two if the final Paris text includes markets. In the meantime, the CDM remains in place until 2020.

The latest text also retained language on a non-market mechanism, introduced by the ALBA countries, which would aim to create a way to generate more climate finance without the use of markets. DeMarco said it might be feasible for the two options to co-exist, “but not without some massaging”. Both had initially been separate in the text, but were combined under a single mechanism in Thursday’s draft.  DeMarco said she ultimately expects one of the two options to be whittled down or eliminated entirely.

0951 CET – NEXT PLENARY SET FOR SATURDAY AFTERNOON: The next plenary is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with some major issues yet to be resolved, observers at the COP say. New text may be available Saturday morning.

0907 CET – EARLY OPTIMISM ON MARKETS AFTER LATEST UNFCCC TEXT: Delegates and observers are still going through the text that came out late last night, which had been cut down to 27 pages.

The entire text on international mitigation cooperation and a market mechanism remains bracketed, but initial response from observers was that the text is likely to stay in until the end, although the Gulf countries still appear to oppose it.

“Venezuela has tacitly accepted that it cannot prevent the market mechanisms in the Paris Agreement. By theatrically asking for a reservation on this issue, it publicly declared that it will not sink the Paris Agreement for this reason,” said Axel Michaelowa, managing director with carbon market consultancy Perspectives.

By Carbon Pulse – news@carbon-pulse,com

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