GENEVA (17 June) - Climate negotiators have completed three weeks of informal talks aimed at progressing work ahead of the Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November.
These virtual meetings, held under the aegis of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), were not set up as formal negotiating sessions, but instead as a means of informally addressing outstanding issues in the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Formal negotiations are expected to occur when in-person meetings are possible.
Seven technical discussions took place, followed by a Head of Delegation-level stock take in the final days. The informal negotiations covered some of the key topics in the Article 6 negotiations, namely:
• Enabling ambition in Article 6 instruments;
• Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) activity transition to Article 6.4 mechanism;
• Implementing overall mitigation in global emissions in the Article 6.4 mechanism;
• Use of Kyoto Protocol units towards Nationally Determined Contributions;
• Implementation of Article 6.8; and
• Reporting and accounting for GHGs and non-GHGs under Article 6.2.
“While we did not expect formal decisions, the sessions did little to advance the substantive work, because many Parties simply restated old positions and reopened issues that were near closure at the last COP in Madrid,” said Dirk Forrister, CEO of IETA.
Economic studies have shown that Article 6 can help deliver the level of climate ambition sought in the Paris Agreement, because it brings down the costs. Parties are free to cooperate in meeting these ambitious goals, even if guidelines are not agreed.
A number of Article 6 pilots are already underway. But the private sector prefers that governments form a common set of guidelines to assure environmental and market integrity now so that a truly global market can form promptly to support action at scale around the world.
In the absence of decisions on Article 6, the risk is that the UN process could be sidelined by national, regional and sectoral initiatives.
“IETA hopes that in the wake of this session, Parties will continue bilateral discussions to prepare the ground for a positive outcome in Glasgow,” Forrister added. “The prospect of Ministerial consultations on Article 6 in the coming month is a very welcome development.”
IETA is grateful for the hard work of the SBSTA Chair, Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, the Co-facilitators, Peer Stiansen (Norway), Hugh Sealy (Barbados), Anshari Rahman (Singapore) and Kim Solberg (the Netherlands) as well as the Secretariat, in steering the discussion, trying to make progress, and for condensing the areas of alignment in the informal summary notes.
“We look forward now to COP26, and urge Parties to make use of the remaining time to focus on the outstanding issues that require consensus and pave the way for a successful outcome in Glasgow,” said Stefano DeClara, IETA’s head of international policy.