COP-21 Roundup: Dec. 12 – Day 13

Published 02:25 on December 12, 2015  /  Last updated at 23:44 on November 23, 2022  /  Climate Talks, International, Kyoto Mechanisms, Nature-based, Paris Article 6, Voluntary

The UN climate talks in Paris are now into overtime but the finish line could be in sight. The new draft of an international climate agreement has now been published, and the French Presidency is aiming to wrap things up later today. However, anything can happen at the closing COP plenary, meaning these talks could be far from over. Carbon Pulse will continue to post updates from COP-21 as they happen.

The UN climate talks in Paris are now into overtime but the finish line could be in sight.  The new draft of an international climate agreement has now been published, and the French Presidency is aiming to wrap things up later today. However, anything can happen at the closing COP plenary, meaning these talks could be far from over. Carbon Pulse will continue to post updates from COP-21 as they happen.

1925 CET – PARIS DEAL ADOPTED: And without any further complaints or comments, the COP adopts the deal. We have a new global climate change agreement!

1923 CET – US CONCERNS SOLVED, BLAMED ON TYPO: The presidency just made it clear that the use of “shall” instead of “should” in Article 4.4 was one of several typos in the document, blamed on lack of sleep. That would solve the US’ concerns and the plenary can continue.

1912 CET – PLENARY FINALLY STARTING: Plenary got delayed as smiles are replaced with nervous looks and delegations huddle in corners, but is now finally beginning. Reportedly, the US has problems with Article 4.4, which says: “Developed country Parties shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets.” The use of “shall” instead of “should” might make it hard for the US to get through domestically without involving the Senate/House, which would block the deal.

1757 CET – CLOSING PLENARY STARTING: COP-21’s closing plenary is about to begin and it’s all smiles and selfies from the hundreds of delegates making their way to their seats, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, China’s Xie Zhenhua and former US Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore.  Fingers are crossed throughout the Le Bourget complex that no major objections are raised by parties to the current agreement on the table and that it gets gavelled through with relative ease.

1711 CET – ST KITTS AND NEVIS BEATS THE BUZZER: The Caribbean island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis submitted its INDC on Saturday, just hours before the Paris climate summit’s end.  The country pledged to cut its economy-wide GHG emissions by 22% below BAU levels by 2025, and by 35% below by 2030, with both targets “conditional and based on the availability of financing and technological support”.  It added that it supports the inclusion of an international market mechanism in the Paris Agreement.

1558 CET – UNHAPPY: Several negotiators have said at least one country is unhappy with the current text, and that’s part of the reason for the delay in the start of the closing plenary.  “Someone is unhappy, otherwise we would be sitting in the plenary right now,” said Poland’s Tomasz Chruszczow, adding he didn’t know who it was. “Poland is always happy,” he said.  India’s Prakash Javadekar called the current draft of the text “a good agreement”, while Brazil’s lead negotiator Luiz Figueiredo said “we are in favour of the adoption of this agreement but some of our friends are maybe not too pleased with it, but the question is how unhappy are they to request changes.”  Russia has raised objections in a previous closing COP plenary, and when asked if the country was unhappy with the current text, chief climate negotiator Oleg Shamanov would not confirm Russia’s position on it, telling Carbon Pulse only “what I can say is we will be happy when the deal is done.”

1533 CET – COP PLENARY DELAYED: The plenary session has just been delayed until 1730 CET, nearly two hours later than previously scheduled. Clearly it’s not all done and dusted.

1424 CET – AVIATION, SHIPPING STILL MISSING:  Language targeting the two sectors did not appear in the latest Paris text, after having appeared in earlier versions and showing that efforts by the EU to have them added back have likely failed. “The Agreement now leaves it unclear which actors have responsibility to reduce emissions from these sectors. If ICAO/IMO wish to retain a role, they must urgently scale up their ambition. Otherwise states and regional actors will have a right to adopt measures to ensure these sectors contribute to the 1.5C target,” said Andrew Murphy, aviation and shipping officer at Brussels-based NGO Transport & Environment.

– ‘Robust accounting’ back in (apparently this was separated from this section in the previous draft due to an editorial error)
– ‘Avoidance of double counting’ (this language had flopped back and forth between this and ‘not counted more than once’)
– Reductions to be known as ITMOs (internationally transferred mitigation outcomes), rather then ITERs as seen in previous draft
– Reductions must be ‘real, measurable, and long-term’ (not permanent, as was wanted by some parties. This could open door to forestry, land use)
– They must related be additional, relate to ‘specific scopes’ of activities, and be verified and certified by designated operational entities (DOEs)
– Mechanism established, with aim to mitigate while supporting sustainable development. Participation voluntary, mechanism to be supervised by COP-designated body (this all but certain to be UNFCCC)
– Allows for involvement by public and private entities (some countries had been opposed to private sector involvement)
– To deliver ‘overall mitigation’ (this may be weaker than previous language on ‘net contribution’ to GHG reductions, but it pushes this mechanism beyond being simply an offsetting tool)
– Share of proceeds from mechanism to be used to cover ‘administrative expenses’ and to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change
– The mechanism’s rules, modalities and procedures to be adopted at a future COP (likely to be COP-22 next November in Marrakesh)
– Also pushes for recognition of ‘integrated, holistic and balanced non-market approaches’ (this was pushed for by Bolivia and other ALBA countries)
– Sets up framework for these non-market approaches, which are also geared at helping countries meet their pledges (now known as NDCs).

1345 CET – MARKETS PREAMBLE:  Paragraph 38 of mitigation section in draft agreement’s preamble “recommends that the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement adopt rules, modalities and procedures for the mechanism established by Article 6, paragraph 4, of the Agreement on the basis of:
(a) Voluntary participation authorized by each Party involved;
(b) Real, measurable, and long-term benefits related to the mitigation of climate change;
(c) Specific scopes of activities;
(d) Reductions in emissions that are additional to any that would otherwise occur;
(e) Verification and certification of emission reductions resulting from mitigation activities by designated operational entities;
(f) Experience gained with and lessons learned from existing mechanisms and approaches adopted under the Convention and its related legal instruments;

1341 CET – MARKETS IN ARTICLE 6: The text outlining international carbon trading is in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and it’s unbracketed (along with rest of the agreement). Here it is in full:

Article 6

1. Parties recognize that some Parties choose to pursue voluntary cooperation in the implementation of their nationally determined contributions to allow for higher ambition in their mitigation and adaptation actions and to promote sustainable development and environmental integrity.

2. Parties shall, where engaging on a voluntary basis in cooperative approaches that involve the use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes towards nationally determined contributions, promote sustainable development and ensure environmental integrity and transparency, including in governance, and shall apply robust accounting to ensure, inter alia, the avoidance of double counting, consistent with guidance adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement.

3. The use of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes to achieve nationally determined contributions under this Agreement shall be voluntary and authorized by participating Parties.

4. A mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development is hereby established under the authority and guidance of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement for use by Parties on a voluntary basis. It shall be supervised by a body designated by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement, and shall aim:
(a) To promote the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions while fostering sustainable development;
(b) To incentivize and facilitate participation in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by public and private entities authorized by a Party;
(c) To contribute to the reduction of emission levels in the host Party, which will benefit from mitigation activities resulting in emission reductions that can also be used by another Party to fulfil its nationally determined contribution; and
(d) To deliver an overall mitigation in global emissions.

5. Emission reductions resulting from the mechanism referred to in paragraph 4 of this Article shall not be used to demonstrate achievement of the host Party’s nationally determined contribution if used by another Party to demonstrate achievement of its nationally determined contribution.

6. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement shall ensure that a share of the proceeds from activities under the mechanism referred to in paragraph 4 of this Article is used to cover administrative expenses as well as to assist developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change to meet the costs of adaptation.

7. The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement shall adopt rules, modalities and procedures for the mechanism referred to in paragraph 4 of this Article at its first session.

8. Parties recognize the importance of integrated, holistic and balanced non-market approaches being available to Parties to assist in the implementation of their nationally determined contributions, in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, in a coordinated and effective manner, including through, inter alia, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer and capacity-building, as appropriate. These approaches shall aim to:
(a) Promote mitigation and adaptation ambition;
(b) Enhance public and private participation in the implementation of nationally determined contributions; and
(c) Enable opportunities for coordination across instruments and relevant institutional arrangements.

9. A framework for non-market approaches to sustainable development is hereby defined to promote the nonmarket approaches referred to in paragraph 8 of this Article.

1333 CET – DRAFT FINAL TEXT OUT: Here is the French Presidency’s latest proposal for a Paris Agreement.

1229 CET – UN CHIEF, HOLLANDE URGE COMPLETION, FABIUS MAKES US WAIT FOR TEXT: The ‘final’ Paris climate text is ready but still needs to be translated. It will be distributed no later than 1330 CET and the meeting will reconvene at 1545 CET to discuss it, COP President Laurent Fabius told the plenary hall after hearing speeches from UN chief Ban Ki-moon and France’s President Francois Hollande. Both men made a plea for negotiators to agree the “historic” document in a spirit of multilateralism.

1121 CET – MARKETS ARE IN:  The text on market mechanisms from Thursday night’s draft agreement has largely survived and should appear unbracketed in this morning’s version, one European negotiator told Carbon Pulse, adding that it remains to be seen if what the facilitator group agreed on was altered at all overnight as a result of overnight bilateral meetings held by the French Presidency.

The facilitator group’s agreement text called for a single mechanism that supports market- and non-market-based approaches, the negotiator said – two features that appeared in the most recent draft.  Language on ‘double counting’ and ‘net contribution’ will remain in the new text, while a clause limiting the use of the mechanism to countries that have committed to absolute targets has again been left out.

Any ‘internationally transferred emissions reductions’ shall be ‘long term’ rather than ‘permanent’, potentially allowing forest or land use projects use the mechanism.  However, the negotiator confirmed that the text handed to the presidency did not explicitly mention forestry or REDD+.  “We got all our asks [on markets], but I’m worried about what we may have given up in other areas to get it,” the negotiator said, adding that if approved this mechanism would effectively replace the Kyoto Protocol’s offsetting mechanisms – the CDM and JI – with one that calls for a “net contribution” to mitigation.

Beyond that, parties have apparently agreed to change the wider agreement’s section on ambition from seeking “GHG emissions neutrality” to a “balance” between carbon emissions and carbon sinks.  Countries are also understood to have agreed a common MRV system that features undifferentiated accounting rules that don’t differ when applied to developed and developing countries.

1039 CET – FRANCE AND CANADA MAKE GOOD ON THEIR GCF PLEDGES: France and Canada last night signed agreements with the GCF to convert their pledges into contributions. France has converted its remaining pledge of €342m, bringing its total signed contributions to €750m, while Canada has converted its pledge of C$300m into signed arrangements. This takes the GCF total to around $6.5bln from around 40 countries, regions and cities out of the $10bln so far pledged, the GCF secretariat said.

0838 CET – ‘FINAL’ TEXT READY, WILL GO TO MINISTERS AT 1130 CET: A ‘final’ draft Paris text has been agreed and will be presented to ministers at 1130 CET this morning, an official in the office of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the AFP news agency. This is 2.5 hours later than had been forseen ahead of all-night talks among negotiators and nearly 16 hours after the talks had been scheduled to close.

The text will be bracket free but will only be agreed if there are no objections raised, otherwise further changes will be needed.

0308 CET – GOOD REDD-ANCE: Another source told Carbon Pulse that REDD+, while remaining in the upcoming version of the text, does not appear in the market mechanisms section, meaning efforts to have an agreement that sows the seeds of an international forest carbon offset market seem to have failed.  Several green groups had opposed the explicit mention of forestry in Article 3ter, which they said was being pushed for by Panama on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations.  It was unclear whether the markets text will retain the language referring to ‘long term’ emissions reductions as seen in the previous draft, which is understood to relate to forest and land use (LULUCF), or whether it returned to previous wording seeking ‘permanent’ reductions in an international crediting mechanism.

0245 CET – NO BRACKETS, MO’ PROBLEMS: The French presidency is still drafting the new text and key differences remain, a source close to the process told Carbon Pulse, adding that the document is on track to be released on time around 0900 CET and will have no brackets.

By Carbon Pulse – news@carbon-pulse,com

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