We have reached the halfway point of COP23 – and have the texts to prove it.
This first week at “Fiji on the Rhine” has seen several parallel meetings taking place – at time, it can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve not been to a COP for a while, or if it’s your first time. We’ve been tracking market-related matters, which so far has been primarily for the Paris Agreement Article 6 negotiations, which are under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA). Parties also began work on guidance relating to the CDM on Friday, which falls under CMP (Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol).
On Article 6, the week’s talks have been productive and well-structured, with informal sessions focusing in turn on the three issues: Article 6.2 (cooperative approaches), Article 6.4 (emissions mitigation mechanism), and Article 6.8 (non-market approaches). Over the course of the week, negotiators have been working from informal notes prepared by the co-chairs, which initially drew from Parties’ submissions and a workshop last weekend and have been updated throughout the week. Remarkably, negotiations at all levels have been kept open to observers all week.
The third (and final?) iterations of these notes were released this morning, following informal meetings Friday and Saturday. While the non-market approaches note has seen just two extra pages added since its first note, the emissions mitigation mechanism note has almost doubled over the course of the week and the cooperative approaches note has ballooned from eight pages to 26. (For those that want to look at the evolution of the notes, all iterations are available on the SBSTA 47 in-session documents page, under agenda item 11.) That is not overly surprising, given that the sessions were less negotiations and more an airing of views, with Parties adding elements that they felt were missing.
Bear in mind, these notes are just the headers for what will ultimately form the structure of the Article 6 rulebook, so there’s a lot of growth expected. Fun fact, of the 197 pages of the Marrakesh Accords – the rulebook for the Kyoto Protocol – flexibility mechanisms (CDM, JI and international emissions trading) account for 66. So watch the Article 6 collective pages add up.
The only real potentially awkward moment came on Saturday, when Brazil and a few other Parties brought up common but differentiated responsibilities, with a view to having it included in the preamble to the Article 6.2 notes on cooperative approaches. This could be linked to moves to keep the guidance for users of Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOs) separate from those for countries issuing ITMOs. The co-chairs moved to end the discussion to preserve the work done this week.
Over the next couple of days, Parties will meet to discuss the latest notes and talk about the way forward. The co-chairs will prepare draft conclusions for the contact group to pass to the SBSTA Plenary, which meets from Tuesday for its closing session. It is expected that the conclusions will lay out a timetable for submissions and roundtables ahead of the next SBSTA meeting, in April/May 2018.
Meanwhile, a new draft text on guidance relating to the CDM was released yesterday, following the first session of talks on Friday. Five paragraphs of the preamble have been agreed, and two of the 22 in the text. Talks are expected to resume tomorrow; check the schedule for the CMP.
Elsewhere, the BINGO constituency group has prepared talking points in response to issues around conflict of interest. Please contact Katie Kouchakji at email@example.com if you did not receive them (they were sent around midday CET on Saturday by ICC). A reminder for those new in town this week, the BINGO group meets every day at 9am in meeting room 11 in the Bonn zone.
At the IETA Business Hub, our first week saw a truly impressive series of events, including a packed interactive discussion about the future of offsetting and the new mitigation mechanism established by Article 6.4. Featuring remarks from David Hone of Shell, Mary Grady of American Carbon Registry, Jan-Willem van de Ven of the EBRD and Sam Hoffer from VCS, the panellists and audience covered issues such as accounting, the scope of the new mechanism, the interaction of the mechanism with Nationally Determined Contributions, a role for existing standards and protocols, and ensuring environmental integrity.
Coming up, events not to miss over the next couple of days include:
- Monday, 9am: CAR is hosting a high-level event on sub-national strategies in North America, featuring the governors of California and Oregon and Chris Ballard, the Minister of Environment for Ontario, taking place in the IETA hub;
- Monday, 12 noon: The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements will host a panel at the IETA hub on heterogeneous linkage and Article 6, moderated by the European Commission’s Director General for Climate Action Jos Delbeke;
- Monday, 1pm: In the Korean Pavilion, just across from the IETA hub, IETA is exploring the potential for carbon clubs and linked markets in the Asia-Pacific;
- Monday, 3pm: EDF and IETA’s official side event takes place in room 9 in the Bonn zone, focused on ensuring environmental integrity in carbon markets, including CORSIA and Article 6, featuring Kay Harrison from the New Zealand government;
- Tuesday, 3.30: The first of four events showcasing Canadian Corporate Leadership at the IETA Hub, focusing on innovation for a low-carbon future;
- Tuesday, 5pm: IETA AGM followed by reception – contact us if you need the information.
The IETA Business Hub is in zone A in the Bonn zone - we look forward to seeing more of you this week!