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  • 12 Dec 2015 9:44 PM | Anonymous

    What a rollercoaster of a day – but one that ended on a massive high, especially for those of us who have worked so tirelessly to ensure a role for markets in this agreement.

    We woke up to find that the first Comité de Paris meeting and the release of the proposed final text for the Paris outcome had been delayed again until 11.30am CET. Proceedings finally began just before midday, with the text finally released at 1.30pm CET.

    There followed a tense afternoon as we waited for the final Comité de Paris meeting to see if Parties would adopt the text. The appointed hour – 5.30pm – came and went…then 6.30pm….then suddenly, at 7.15pm, it sprang into action.

    A little over 10 minutes later, and a few minor revisions noted, it was done: the revised final text was passed to the COP, which adopted it immediately. Cue tears (and a few champagne corks).

    This is a good text: for IETA, for the environment, for everyone. We’ll give a fuller analysis in our post-COP report early next week, but a few key points:

    -          Article 6 (formerly article 3 in the draft) deals with implementation – including through cooperative approaches (markets by another name).

    -          After tense negotiations over the past 48 hours, everything IETA asked for is there: accounting provisions, cooperative approaches and internationally transferrable mitigation outcomes (ie, emissions trading) and a crediting mechanism (now known as a mechanism to support the mitigation of GHG emissions and support sustainable development).

    -          Article 6, paragraph 5 explicitly deals with the avoidance of double-counting – key to ensuring trust and credibility of the mechanism.

    -          Full rules of this mechanism will be adopted at the first meeting of the COP serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Agreement (aka CMA), ie after ratification.

    Overall, this is a historic moment for global climate policy – and IETA is proud to have played a part in shaping our future. 


  • 11 Dec 2015 8:00 PM | Anonymous

    With negotiations heating up behind closed doors, Le Bourget has felt like one giant waiting room today (complete with germs).

    Negotiations lasted all night once again on Thursday, and intense consultations and bilaterals continued throughout the day on Friday. The promised final text has been delayed until at least 9am CET on Saturday, along with the sixth meeting of the Comité de Paris.

    On the market language (article 3, paragraph 20 on cooperative approaches and the mechanism to support sustainable development, article 3 ter), tension increased overnight. There are concerns that the language is now getting messy, after disagreements overnight. However, by Friday afternoon, word is that only one country is digging in their heels and refusing to allow these to pass: Venezuela. One country, which has not even submitted an INDC.

    At the time of writing (6pm CET), a closed door meeting between the co-facilitators, COP President, UNFCCC and Venezuela was ongoing. We are closely monitoring the situation to see if a compromise has been reached.

    Talk in the corridors has focused on this, and how we can pursue efforts to keep the global average temperature increase to only 1.5°C (as newly agreed in last night’s text, article 2, paragraph 1) if there is no market mechanism or any scope for cooperation in the text. Yes, countries can still form partnerships outside of the UNFCCC – such as a reported declaration on market cooperation that is in the pipeline – but it gets messier and more complicated. A global framework ensures comparability and helps reduce costs – which is especially important for developing countries wanting to use markets.

    Today IETA and some of its member companies met with a cross-party delegation of more than 13 Members of the European Parliament present in Paris, to discuss the ongoing negotiations at COP21. The meeting was a great opportunity for IETA to present its priorities are for the Paris Agreement and the importance of recognising the role of carbon markets in the text – a view shared by MEPs!

    Discussions also touched upon linking ETS with one another, ensuring environmental integrity of crediting mechanisms, and developing a well-functioning EU ETS for the period post-2020, which the European Parliament and European Member States are currently working on.

    We will continue to update you as events unfold over the weekend. A full report on the outcomes will be distributed to members early next week, followed by debriefs on Tuesday (via telephone) and Wednesday (in person, in London). Please contact your local IETA representative for more information on all of these.

    Thank you to all our members and partners for your support these last two weeks. The IETA/WBCSD hub was definitely the place to be at Le Bourget! Your energy and contributions helped make our programme a real success. 


  • 10 Dec 2015 11:00 PM | Anonymous

    The biggest news of the day just happened (9.30pm CET) – a new draft text has been released, just as the day’s first plenary wrapped up after a brief 20 minutes.

    It’s clear that a lot of work has been done, especially when compared to the text that was released yesterday, with a lot of the brackets gone. A lot…but not all.

    Article 3 ter, pertaining to a mechanism to support sustainable development, remains in brackets, and at two options – prompting some to worry that this section may be too chunky to find a political agreement at this late stage. But we live in hope; too many Parties have stated their intent to access markets to deliver on their INDCs – or even go beyond what they can do – for this to just disappear.

    Language on accounting has been agreed, however. While this seems dry and wonky, it is the crux of the deal (and any market), to ensure that there is accurate, transparent and consistent data – and no double counting of reductions (article 3, paragraph 12). The paragraph on cooperative approaches has become two – but remains bracketed (article 3, paragraphs 20 and 21).

    The new text is the product of an intense night last night – with some reports saying things wound up at 6am CET on Thursday – and continued meetings throughout the day. Consultations were held on differentiation, finance and ambition during the indaba chaired by him, while simultaneous discussions were held on the preamble, loss and damage, forests and cooperative mechanisms.

    During the brief plenary this evening, COP President Laurent Fabius said that a further informal meeting would begin at 11.30pm, to allow governments the time to digest and analyse the new text. He stressed that this would be an “indaba of solutions”, not posturing and the aim is to find landing zones for agreement. His proposed method of work received a round of applause – and no objections. (Thankfully no calls for line-by-line negotiations tonight then.)

    Divides remain over differentiation, finance and ambition, he said, and the discussion will need to focus on resolving these issues. Fabius stressed that governments need to “show necessary responsibility – it’s time to come to an agreement.”

    He added that all the members of the legal and linguistic team have been appointed, and began work this afternoon on the articles 12-26 (with a few bracketed exceptions).

    In wrapping up, Fabius said he hopes he can present a proposal for a final text tomorrow. Which would truly be mind-blowing and a testament to the efforts of the COP 21 hosts to handle this beast and keep it under control. This feels less like where the wild things are and more akin to the taming of the shrew.


  • 09 Dec 2015 12:19 AM | Anonymous

    The Le Bourget grounds were abuzz this afternoon, with a new draft Paris outcomes text published just after 3pm. At 29 pages – 19 slimmer than the previous version – for both the agreement and decisions, it is an impressive piece of work and testament to the hard work governments have put in since Sunday. (Bearing in mind that, last week, a mere six pages were cut.)

    Don’t be fooled though: all is not well – not as rotten as in Denmark back in 2009, mind, but there remain issues. At the start of this evening’s Comité de Paris, COP President Laurent Fabius noted that the three cross-cutting controversial issues remain differentiation, finance and ambition – and he proposed that, after tonight’s plenary (which overran by close to 2.5 hours), to hold a meeting in the indaba format (basically informal), open to all, to see if any progress could be made on solving these three; he specifically asked for heads of delegations to attend. This meeting will begin at midnight local time, and work will then continue through the night…

    (He quipped the reason for the short break at the end of the plenary was so negotiators could have time to consult and/or grab a bite to eat, so intense has their schedule been today.)

    Consultations on loss and damage, response measures, cooperative approaches and mechanisms, the preamble, and forests & REDD+ (this theme was added based on this evening’s plenary comments) will also resume work tonight, in parallel to the indaba meeting.  A revised draft is due to be published tomorrow (Thursday) early afternoon based on tonight’s discussions and progress.

    The co-chairs of the legal and linguistic committee have also suggested that articles 12-26 (except for 15, 18 and 19) are passed to them, as they are clean sections. These articles underpin the constitutional arrangements for the agreement and are pretty vanilla. (Except for the three that are still in brackets, as these pertain to bodies and institutional arrangements – article 15; entry into force – article 18; and amendments – article 19.)

    The plenary then opened up for reactions to the text, which were broadly positive in favour of using the new text as the basis for ongoing negotiations. There followed a series of position stating, ranging from concerns with the text (including on the long term goal, lack of balance, separation from the convention and too few options – which surely is the point of negotiations?!) and comments on the procedure from here. Most are in favour of continuing on as Fabius has proposed, but Russia is pushing for line by line negotiations.

    On the new text itself, all the hooks for markets are still there, as are the three IETA asks: language on accounting and transparency, and avoiding double-counting, is present (article 3, paragraph 12) and the language on internationally transferrable mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) is still present in the paragraph on cooperative approaches (article 3, paragraph 20).

    It’s worth noting that accounting and use of ITMOs is also in the decision text, without brackets, in paragraph 32 (see page 17 of the current text).

    The mechanism to support sustainable development (article 3ter) is also still there, with some elements of the EU-Brazil proposal reflected, but it’s still in play – there remain two proposed mechanisms here. But the whole section remains in brackets.

    (At a press conference this afternoon, Dirk Forrister quipped that he is pleased with the new text, but “that’s it not soup yet” – prompting one audience member to later suggest we start a hashtag #isitsoupyet. IETA may just do this…)

    Somehow, however, the explicit mention of a REDD mechanism has dropped from article 3bis. Instead there is a paragraph (with just one set of brackets!), which encourages Parties to incentivise REDD and to promote sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

    With negotiations remaining Parties-only, Team IETA continued its whirl of side events, speaking engagements and media tour.

    This COP has seen a strong showing from a reenergised Canadian contingency, and the IETA/WBCSD hub was taken over again this morning by Canadian officials. A panel of six premiers plus the federal environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna showcased the new ‘climate dynamic’ emerging in Canada, discussed new collaboration pathways that the different sub-national governments are undertaking and considering in tackling climate. It was also an opportunity for these governments to present their vision of where their own jurisdiction - and Canada as a whole - are heading to further leadership, innovation and cooperation on climate and carbon pricing at home and abroad.

    (For more on the importance of sub-national action, don’t miss the second of today’s blog posts – don’t say we don’t spoil you – by Yvan Champagne.) (The first, by Fiona Wild, is also well worth a read!)

    This afternoon, the hub hosted a special session on China’s carbon market, where Dr Jiang Zhaoli of the NDRC highlighted the key elements of China's National ETS, off the record. The discussion touched on allocation, legal framework, offsets, MRV, and compliance. He invited all IETA members to the ETS dialogue with state-owned enterprises in Beijing on 18 January – contact Jeff Swartz on swartz@ieta.org for more information.

    This followed a CEO roundtable, in which business leaders from around the world made the business for carbon pricing. Moderated by Dirk Forrister, the panel was a strong show of business leadership on this issue, featuring the CEOs from Royal DSM, Vattenfall, AGL and CLP Group alongside Rachel Kyte from the World Bank and representation from Statkraft.

    We also attended a special event at the German Pavilion, the launch of the G7 carbon market platform, featuring environment ministers from across the G7. This platform will be a policy dialogue and Japan (next year’s G7 president) pledged to continue it next year. The platform will focus on rules and standards for carbon market cooperation

    And a reminder: IETA’s COP 21 Members Nightcap Reception is tomorrow night from 9.30pm. ENTRY IS STRICTLY BY INVITATION, so please come by the IETA/WBCSD Business Hub (Hall 3, Pavilion 4) to grab your ticket OR confirm your participation by midday CET via email to Lisa Spafford on spafford@ieta.org


  • 08 Dec 2015 9:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Consultations continued apace today, particularly with nine groups on the go now (in addition to the eight reported on yesterday, a group dedicated to the preamble has also been established).

    Facilitators reported progress in most areas at this evening’s Comité de Paris meeting, with governments continuing to show flexibility and willingness to reach a compromise – which helps set a conducive environment for the overall negotiations. However, despite these positive reports and intentions, issues still remain and consultations were set to resume this evening and tomorrow.

    The consultation group on cooperative approaches and mechanisms, overseen by Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna and Raymond Tshibanda N’Tungamulongo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of Congo, held a series of bilateral meetings today as well as a ministerial session this afternoon.

    McKenna reported back this evening that all parties are willing to look for a compromise, with many showing interest in having provisions to facilitate cooperative approaches as well as specific principles – environmental integrity, avoiding double-counting, sustainable development and the voluntary nature of these cooperations. She added that there is also a keenness to set a clear work programme for the future CMA (new acronym alert – Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement. Rolls off the tongue, non?). However, some Parties maintain the view that these provisions should not form part of the agreement.

    N’Tungamulongo noted as well that there is a push to use funds raised from any certified activities that occur under the proposed mechanism for sustainable development to support adaptation efforts in the most vulnerable nations.

    Today saw the EU and Brazil float a new text on the markets section, in a bid to find a compromise in this area. However, negotiations remain ongoing and there are rumours that other Parties are preparing their own proposals for this topic and all is still in play – or indeed that it could be blocked altogether. We’ll continue to monitor this as it unfolds tomorrow.

    On differentiation, fault lines remain and the co-facilitators have proposed working with the COP President and UNFCCC secretariat to include options in the text for all Parties.

    But overall, there is a sense that things are progressing. COP President Laurent Fabius intends to present a clean text tomorrow by 1pm, based on the ADP text as handed over on Saturday and incorporating recommendations from the facilitators of the consultation groups received by midnight tonight.

    Tomorrow will see the Comité de Paris meet at 5pm for Parties to provide first reactions to the new text, followed by discussions on outstanding issues in the evening. Fabius added that the aim is still to have a text for adoption by 6pm on Friday.

    Ok, now for the info you’ve all been waiting for…. IETA’s COP 21 Members Nightcap Reception will be taking place on Thursday from 9.30pm. ENTRY IS STRICTLY BY INVITATION, so please come by the IETA/WBCSD Business Hub (Hall 3, Pavilion 4) from tomorrow to grab your ticket, OR confirm your participation by Thursday midday CET via email to Lisa Spafford on spafford@ieta.org


  • 07 Dec 2015 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Monday, week 2 of COP, aka hump day.

    With negotiations intensifying, today was mainly a day of Parties-only meetings, as the four focused consultation groups met. To recap, the four groups and co-facilitators are:

    1. Means of implementation: including finance, technology, capacity building. This facilitators for this group are the ministers from Gabon and Germany.

    2. Differentiation: in particular with regards to mitigation, finance and transparency. This group will be facilitated by the ministers from Brazil and Singapore.

    3. Ambition: such as on the long-term goal and periodic reviews. The facilitators are from Norway and St Lucia.

    4. Pre-2020 efforts: excluding finance, however. This group is facilitated by Gambia and the UK.

    In addition, Minister Fabius also announced tonight four new focused groups:

    • 1.  Adaptation, including loss and damage, co-facilitated by the ministers from Bolivia and Sweden.
    • 2.  Cooperative mechanisms, which is markets by another name, facilitated by Canada and a to-be-determined colleague.
    • 3.  Forests, overseen by the minister for Ecuador, and a second to be named.
    • 4.   Response measures, facilitators to be named later.

    These new four groups will also begin consultations tomorrow. The objective of all eight of these groups (and any others that are established as need warrants) is to try to come up with an initial vision of the final text. But, Fabius reminded this evening, “The time is coming when we will have to make a decision.”

    In the initial reports back this evening from the initial four groups, small steps of progress were seen across the board. In the implementation group, convergence is seen around climate finance, particularly on provision of support and mobilisation, as well as around capacity building – with the Paris Committee on Capacity Building to be established – and technology. These are all welcome signs.

    Miraculously, the freeze on differentiation appears to be thawing, with developed countries assuring the group they would continue to take the lead – which saw developing countries confirm that, with differentiation, they could participate more effectively. This includes on finance, where developing countries will be encouraged to donate as possible, but on a voluntary basis.

    (At IETA’s daily press briefing this morning, the notion of self-differentiation emerged, with Elliot Diringer of C2ES noting that the whole INDC process began to blur these previously stark lines. This is also reflected in pledges to the GCF, with an unexpected $1 million pledge from Vietnam over the weekend adding to the growing list of developing countries contributing to the Fund.)

    The ambition group, which reportedly now holds the record for the most bilaterals at a COP, reported growing interest in working towards five-year time frames. However, differences still remain on how to define the long-term goal, eg 1.5°C, 2°C, net zero, decarbonisation by the end of this century, etc.

    Finally, the group on pre-2020 ambition reported great progress, with several brackets removed. The two main elements of a potential compromise are focused around: (1) accelerated implementation – facilitative dialogue (in 2017) would consider the state of implementation under the Convention and ways to enhance it, with a focus on developed countries in particular; and (2) adaptation: a technical examination process is expected to be established in Paris (in a similar format to the examination on mitigation).

    Consultations will continue tomorrow, and an initial compromise text should be available on Wednesday (although some Parties pressed the COP Presidency to work on a revised draft as early as Tuesday).

    With all this going on behind closed doors, Team IETA had a busy day of side events – including our official UNFCCC side event with EPRI and Duke University on linkage of different pricing systems (which garnered a nice write up in Forbes).

    IETA’s CEO and President Dirk Forrister took to the stage at the EU Pavilion again, this time to moderate a dialogue between Janet McCabe of the US EPA and the European Commission’s Jos Delbeke. Following introductory remarks from Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the discussion focused on flexibility measures to curb emissions (yet another way of saying trading), the need for low-cost solutions as INDCs move from proposals to actions, and the need for ambition.

    Meanwhile, director of international policy Jeff Swartz spoke on a panel about a national ETS in China and the next steps, while North America director Katie Sullivan joined a panel discussion about aviation.

    If you’ve not read our COP 21 blog for a few days, why don’t you catch up in between side events tomorrow? New posts have appeared from Nick Campbell, Rebecca Fay and David Hone, with more lined up for this week.

     


  • 06 Dec 2015 5:52 PM | Anonymous

    …and that’s a wrap on week 1. And, miraculously, the ADP, after four tumultuous years.

    Despite scepticism that the ADP would meet the COP Presidency’s deadline to hand over a text on Saturday for ministers to work on – particularly as the ADP has been deadlocked –  a draft text was indeed accepted by all Parties early in the afternoon. As the ADP wound up for the final time, Laurence Tubiana – in an emotional statement – said there is now a basis for negotiations that has been accepted by all. (A webcast is available, for those who wish to watch this historic moment for themselves.)

    This last point is crucial, given that five hours were effectively wasted on Friday by countries flouting a request by the ADP Co-chairs to only propose compromises as they gave the text a first reading, and not use the time to restate old positions. After a ninety minute discussion on procedure, the way forward was still unclear. The meeting then disintegrated into a free-for-all, with 72 interventions made in total in no coherent order on parts of the text.

    While these comments were captured in a reflections note in an annex to a text issued on Saturday morning, the actual draft text itself remained unchanged. This prompted one negotiator to privately comment that Friday’s session was basically pointless, as its objective was to approve the text, and the points raised during the plenary were merely noted at the end.

    But remarkably, given the strife of the week, the mood at the end of the very last ADP meeting was positive, with a willingness to forge an agreement affirmed by the Parties. Let’s hope this willingness – as restated in Saturday evening’s COP plenary – holds for the week. (Particularly as the text passed to the COP was reissued mid-afternoon on Saturday, with more feedback from the closing ADP plenary added.)

    At the plenary, France’s Foreign Minister – and COP President – Laurent Fabius laid out the work plan for the coming week (the transcript is only available in French at present). Following consultations with all Parties by Ambassadors François Delattre, Philippe Lacoste and Michael Zammit Cutajar, Fabius is establishing a Paris committee, open-ended single-setting group. This group will meet at least once a day with the facilitators of the four working groups he established (more on those in a moment), and this committee will also decide when the text is ready to be reviewed by a legal team.

    This legal team in turn is comprised of 11 people: two representatives from each of the five UN regional groupings, plus one from Small Island Developing States, plus two as-yet-unnamed co-chairs, one from those countries included in Annex 1 and one from those that are not.

    The committee will abide by three rules:

    1.       Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed (that old UNFCCC chestnut)

    2.       All Parties will be included

    3.       Full transparency, with the group’s discussions transmitted to the many screens across the Le Bourget site

    As for the working groups, Fabius has determined that these will tackle the following:

    1.       Means of implementation: including finance, technology, capacity building. This facilitators for this group are the ministers from Gabon and Germany.

    2.       Differentiation: in particular with regards to mitigation, finance and transparency. This group will be facilitated by the ministers from Brazil and Singapore.

    3.       Ambition: such as on the long-term goal and periodic reviews. The facilitators are yet to be appointed.

    4.       Pre-2020 efforts: excluding finance, however. The facilitators for this group are also yet to be named.

    Fabius said that, in the name of expediency, the committee will meet the relevant ministers on Sunday to set out the modalities for work. They are then to arrange open-ended meetings, starting from 4pm on Sunday afternoon, and will report their first conclusions to the Paris committee at its first meeting on Monday at 3pm. Game on.

    Elsewhere, Saturday at the EU Pavilion was dedicated to carbon markets, featuring a series of events to discuss international cooperation and emissions trading around the world. IETA’s CEO Dirk Forrister was honoured to be invited to participate in several sessions, including on a panel with EU Climate Action & Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete, China’s Special Representative for Cliamte Change Issues Xie Zhenhua and Director General of the Climate Action DG Jos Delbeke. At the event, Xie called for a global, linked market and reiterated China’s commitment to starting a national ETS in 2017 – and discussed the possibility of a link to South Korea’s ETS.

    IETA and ICAP also hosted a joint session in the afternoon at the EU Pavilion, focused on linking and international cooperation. Speakers included Quebec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change David Heurtel, New Zealand’s Climate Change Ambassador Jo Tyndall, Hanchang Choi from South Korea, Martin Hession from the European Commission, Ruchi Sadhir from the Oregon Governor’s office, Shell’s climate change adviser David Hone and Brian Murray from the Nicholas Institute at Duke University.

    The panel talked about how Linking helps improve environmental goals, how it can help improve economic performance and allow partnerships across borders far into the future, and – importantly – that it is about fairness as it helps reduce competitiveness concerns.

    If you’re just arriving at COP 21 this week, please come visit us at the IETA/WBCSD Pavilion, in Hall 3. As well as a jam-packed schedule of top notch side events, each evening around 6pm we host thematic policy briefings, to help keep on top of the issues that matter to business.

    IETA in the news: week 1 of COP 21

    -          Dirk Forrister talks ambition with BusinessGreen – the story also covers ICROA’s offsetting video and IETA Board Member Karl Upston-Hooper’s comments on markets in the Paris Agreement

    -          Carbon Pulse quotes Dirk Forrister on the CDM and aviation

    -          Footprint interviewed Dirk Forrister on business wants from COP 21

    -          Jeff Swartz talks with Carbon Pulse about market provisions in the Paris text

    -          Energy Intelligence quotes Dirk Forrister and Jonathan Grant speaking at an IETA press briefing on the start of the negotiations (2 Dec, subscription only)

    -          Carbon Pulse covered the first IETA-CMIA Carbon Pricing Champion Award, to Ontario and Québec

    -          Ahead of Paris, Jeff Swartz spoke with Platts about the outlook for the talks

    -          Jeff Swartz on the fate of the CDM review in Carbon Pulse

     


  • 03 Dec 2015 11:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The days are starting to blur together as the negotiations continue to go on. Three days since more than 150 world leaders were here and the negotiations are back to their typical ways of breakdowns, little consensus building, and deep divides between rich and poor countries.

    Negotiators have been meeting in ‘spin off groups’ and ‘informal informal’ meetings to work on specific paragraphs of the draft agreement. At the end of tonight’s ADP stock-taking with all countries present, it has been decided that all Parties will go through the text, paragraph by paragraph, in a full contact group in one room, as most of the issues (ie, most of the text) remain in brackets. Several Parties expressed disappointment that things have not progressed further (a sentiment they are not alone in).

    The task for the coming days (week?!) is to meet with the Parties and try to see where agreement can lie. Which is no easy feat, based on today’s efforts. Some might ask if efforts is the right word, as – despite having a four-page-lighter new text to work with (it’s just 50 pages long now) – the negotiations are in much the same place as yesterday.

    Leaving as little to chance as they can control (so everything except the actual negotiations), the French presidency has brought in trusted hands. One face is very familiar to COP veterans – Michael Zammit Cutajar. He is no stranger to the effort to reach a global climate change agreement, having been head of the UNFCCC secretariat in Kyoto, not to mention Vice Chair and then Chair of the LCA (remember the LCA?) which was intended to lead to a new agreement in Copenhagen.

    On article 3 (mitigation), some adjustments to the new text were made, and that will be forwarded to the contact group. The text on accounting and cooperative approaches (internationally-transferrable mitigation outcomes would be a good hook for markets) and a new mechanism for sustainable development is said to be in a better position than it was this morning – but we’ll see if that holds in the paragraph-by-paragraph approach tomorrow.

    The finance (article 6) contact group, which ran until 2am on Thursday, also only reported incremental progress at tonight’s stock-take.  

    The biggest problem, cutting across pretty much every issue, is differentiation. At this afternoon’s three-hour stock-taking meeting, nothing progressed, with old, entrenched positions being hard clung to – which only served to fuel the already-heated discussion further. Intervening at one stage was Saudi Arabia, which stated that developing nations have tabled their INDC proposal and it is developed countries which need to up their ambition to plug the gap to 2°C.

    At the core of this lies how differentiation is defined, with many reiterating the common but differentiated responsibilities concept. (Although one area of agreement – or at least no objection – was repeated statements that there needs to be special provisions for LDCs and SIDS). With such clear, long-standing red lines, it is hard to see a way forward at this point – but it’s only day 4, and a lot can happen in nine days (if COP is to end on the scheduled day). Maybe the heavies can break this decades-old deadlock.

    Talk in the corridors is – naturally – focused on what the final deal will look like. Having promised no surprises or secret texts, some are concerned that the purpose of Zammit Cutajar and cohort’s mission is to give a front for a secret COP Presidency text.

    Others expect that the Presidency text, should one emerge, will be based on the existing text, and similar in length to the non-paper the ADP Co-Chairs floated before October’s negotiations in Bonn (nine pages for the agreement and 11 for decisions). That’s only another 30 pages to trim over the coming nine days – so the current rate of four pages per three days is going to have to significantly increase if this is to be done.

    The COP contact group on finance (items 12 a-d) saw a raft of concerns voiced, including the lack of time allocated to discuss the topic; lack of clarity around public finance; an array of worries about the GCF’s staffing, reporting, project approval process, the slow pace of progress, and the cost of project development. Submissions across the finance items were expected throughout today.

    In the corridors, some practitioners have echoed these concerns about the GCF’s functioning, with one project developer deciding not to pursue accreditation to the Fund as a peer said it took a year and 3-4 dedicated staff – resources and time the firm can ill afford. Others expressed frustration that the process appears to be replicating the early years of the CDM, when a lack of resources at the secretariat stymied development, an experience that the private sector is loath to repeat.

    Talking of the CDM, discussion on its review (yup, STILL) ended with a decision to resume talks in May. I wonder if we’ll be writing about this still at COP 22?! Still, it has only been running for three years…

    Today’s Carbon Pricing Champion Award was issued to Rachel Kyte on behalf of the World Bank Group for her leadership on carbon pricing over the past few years. She was very proud to receive our award and do check out the #carbonpricingchampion hashtag on Twitter for photos from the event! We will be issuing the next award on Friday evening.


  • 02 Dec 2015 5:30 PM | Anonymous

    Day three, and the gloves are off.

    The COP and CMP plenary was (surprisingly) productive, with an array of contact groups established, including on the CDM, JI, finance and decision-making procedures at COP/CMP. However, it ended in discord over a proposal by China to establish a contact group to discuss raising ambition in the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period, which was opposed by the EU on the grounds that a high-level roundtable on raising ambition pre-2020 had already taken place and that we didn’t need a new contact group. After a few back and forth exchanges, Australia and Norway backed the EU’s position, and Paul Watkinson is tasked with undertaking informal consultations to find a way forward.

    In the ADP, it’s been a day of meeting after meeting after meeting – with several concurrent meetings. This prompted a point of order from Cuba, which noted that as a small delegation, it is hard to follow all the streams (this evening, there are nine meetings which overlap entirely or in part) and called on the COP President to introduce measures to address this.

    This scheduling headache might explain why the report back on each article is basically the same: no progress. The markets group (article 3) saw a few groups prepare proposals on new language on cooperative approaches and internationally transferrable mitigation outcomes (ITMOs) – the new name for tradeable emissions units. This includes a proposal by New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the EU and Australia (which as yet remains unseen by IETA), which was not circulated to all parties.

    Brazil, meanwhile, in a flashback to its 11th hour CDM proposal in Kyoto in 1997, has also prepared a proposal which is reportedly a “radical overhaul” of the current language – but which also remains unseen by IETA, and indeed many Parties at the meeting earlier as it was only circulated 30 minutes in advance.

    Unsurprisingly, these proposals were met with objections by Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, with the latter still in favour of the “no option” option.

    Another meeting is scheduled for later tonight; more information will (hopefully) be available tomorrow.  

    One issue Parties grappled with today is the threshold for the Paris Agreement to enter into force, whether it should be based on a to-be-determined number of Parties or an also-to-be-determined percentage of global GHG emissions – an approach that worked so well with Kyoto… Commentary aside, it is important that a new agreement is meaningful, but everyone has a different definition of what meaningful is, so this will be no easy issue to resolve (quelle surprise).

    Meanwhile, in the IETA/WBCSD Open for Business Hub, Team IETA have been a hive of very busy bees. The day included the 3rd annual GCF-Private Sector Dialogue, co-hosted by IETA and BCSE, which discussed the Fund’s current state of play, the accreditation process, project approvals and opportunities going forward. This includes a $700 million request for proposals in the coming months to scale-up private capital.

    A lively discussion on the role of the EU ETS in the bloc’s 2030 climate and energy package saw concerns raised about overlapping policies – such as energy efficiency – denting the effectiveness of the programme. One speaker noted that the alternatives to the EU ETS should be considered, such as a tax – which can be punitive in times of crisis, as the price remains fixed regardless, unlike in a traded market.

    It was a big day as well for ICROA, with an event focused on how to scale climate neutrality and a need to further action to plug the gap between pledges in the INDCs and the 2°C target. This includes increased action by business – a topic of an ICROA video released today, in which nine major businesses, including Sky, Fuji Xerox and Aviva, explain why offsetting is smart business and an opportunity, with an introduction by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres. The video is well worth a watch; see the full video and individual videos at https://icroa.wildapricot.org/offsetting/offsetting.

    Building off our joint letter with 20 business organisations last month on why markets matter to the Paris Agreement, today we hosted an event on what business has to say on carbon pricing. Twelve organisations – including Cambridge Corporate Leaders Group, Eurogas, CMIA, GCCSI, BDI and Eurelectric – presented their statements on carbon pricing, and the whole collection is available online.

    The day was rounded off by the presentation of the first Carbon Pricing Champion Award to Ontario’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray and Québec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change David Heurtel. The award, presented by CMIA and IETA, was in recognition of efforts and support by the two provinces – and the “best bromance” – in building a cap-and-trade market sub-nationally.

    (The ceremony also saw today’s IETA public shout, once again to Katie Sullivan – and a quasi-marriage proposal. We think.) See the @IETA Twitter feed for more – including a selfie with the two Ministers and our comms queen Katie Kouchakji (aka what happens when three Montreal natives meet in Paris).

    Today on the COP blog, we have two fabulous posts, by David Hone on review periods and Arjuna Dibley on finance. We hope these give you some more depth and things to think about as the Paris negotiations continue apace…


  • 01 Dec 2015 3:30 PM | Anonymous

    During yesterday’s leader’s statements, US President Barack Obama declared “Let’s get to work”. Today saw negotiators try to heed his words as contact groups and spin off groups began their work – although perhaps not as in earnest as one would like.

    In the ADP, there are several contact groups and spin-off groups, and at last count at the time of writing (6pm), eight were set to meet shortly. (And it’s wise to brush up on the latest text, as the groups are listed by article references, not topics.) Concerns over the parallel meetings were brushed aside, with the ADP co-chairs arguing that there was little that could be done because spin-off work has to stop by 6pm on Thursday.

    Before breaking up this morning, the co-chairs highlighted the need to build collective positions that are agreeable to all Parties, not statements of positions. Parties are expected to be ready to negotiate, with a goal is to reduce the text and reduce options/brackets. They are not looking to develop new text. It was also noted that a new mandate will need to be agreed to prepare for the entry into force of the global agreement, as the ADP mandate expires at the end of this COP.

    The mitigation group (article 3), REDD (3 bis) and mechanism to support sustainable development (3 ter) has met several times, including most recently a Parties-only session at 5pm – as of yet, no word has reached IETA of this latest meeting’s outcome. A report was due to be given this evening when the contact group meets, from 7pm. The latest word from Panama and coalition for rainforest nations – representing 50 parties – suggests that REDD+ will remain in the text in some form, sending a clear signal that REDD+ will play a large role in mitigation for the Paris agreement. 

    However, reports from observers to contact groups last night (and a chance lunch encounter with a negotiator from Ethiopia) does little to inspire hope, with the pace still slow and little progress being made. This raises concerns about the ambitious agenda that the French hosts have set for this week, with one observer remarking: “There is little sign that the glorious statements from leaders have made any impact.”

    Elsewhere at the COP, today was REDD day, with a series of side events around the site on this theme – including at the IETA/WBCSD Open for Business Hub. Highlights included a session led by Dentons on REDD+ as an INDC strategy, a session by WBCSD looking at forests and forest products as carbon sinks, and what one attendee described as the best climate smart agriculture event he’s ever attended, also organised by the WBCSD. At these events, Monsanto noted their commitment to internal carbon pricing as a mechanism to support their carbon neutral by 2021 pledge, and IATA further noted their interest to use REDD+ as part of a global market based mechanism for aviation. 

    Team IETA also made it to a high-level event on carbon pricing over lunch today, which saw former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recognise IETA’s work and he stated his support for IETA’s proposals for market provisions in the Paris Agreement. Rudd noted the role business can play in making carbon pricing the norm in five to seven years, rather than the exception, while Tom Kerr of the IFC pointed out that 12% of global GHG emissions are covered by a carbon price – a figure which rises to 25% when China’s planned national ETS (set to begin in 2017) is factored in.

    On climate finance, yesterday saw a swell of pledges, including around $10 billion per year by 2020 from Japan; a new $500 million Transformative Carbon Asset Facility from the World Bank (backed by $250 million from Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland); Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom pledging $5 billion over six years (2015-20) to REDD+ (or around $800 million per year), with the goal of reaching $1 billion per year by 2020; and Australia’s pledge to return climate finance to previous levels, to $1 billion over five years. It was also a big day for multilateral development banks, with a series of pledges announced.

    Don’t forget to check out IETA’s COP 21 portal for all the latest on the Open for Business activities, the IETA COP 21 Members blog (today’s post by Christian Del Valle of Althelia), and these briefings. We look forward to welcoming those of you in Paris to our hub, in Hall 3. Highlights tomorrow include the 3rd annual GCF-Private Sector dialogue at midday, scaling climate neutrality at 2.30pm, a look at the EU ETS in Europe’s 2030 package at 3.45pm and a special session on what business wants on pricing in Paris at 5pm. Don’t miss out!


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