Klima Anzeiger Daily Brief

A lot has happened over the first day of COP 25 in Cologne; time to wrap up and have a look at the progress made amongst different working groups

Important steps forward with regard to mitigation

Under the excellent leadership of the two working group chairs, the working group on mitigation was able to report early on major breakthroughs with regards to the agreement on a maximum global warming of 1.5° C compared to pre-industrial levels. In the afternoon, however, negotiations proved more difficult, as concrete peaks of greenhouse gas emission and the financing of the mitigation fund and green climate fund were discussed. 

The distinguished delegations agreed to differentiate the Parties between developed, developing and least developed countries according to the official UN classification. All parties further agreed on a global peak of greenhouse gas emissions in 2025. While developed countries have to reach their peak in 2020, developing countries are given time until 2030. The least developed countries on the other hand have to peak before 2035. According to the senior advisor of the MUNFCCC, Mr Fukuyama, the two largest emitters in the field of developing countries, India and China, have a decisive role to play in order to meet the global 1.5° C target. Despite large decarbonisation efforts, India states that it is not ready to reach a peak of its own emissions before 2030, due to its immense population growth. China, on the other hand, is willing to sign a unilateral commitment to peak its emissions before 2025. We interpret this indeed as the main reason why the delegation was awarded the “captain planet” award by the attending NGOs.

Financing of the mitigation fund and Green Climate Fund remains still unsolved. How to raise the needed funding will therefore be addressed in a specially set up task force during the second day of COP 25. The mitigation group chair, however, is optimistic that another major step can be taken before the last day of the COP 25 begins.

No major Accomplishments have been achieved in the market mechanism working group

The troubles started in the morning. As one negotiations expert put it: “The market mechanism working group loses critical time with countries restating NDCs and opening statements”. This however turned out to be just to be the start of a troubled morning.

After the first session finally began, a lot of time was lost due to unclear procedures. When participants made suggestions, the chair often changed the text in the draft without putting changes to a vote. These frequent changes of the draft made it very hard to reach a consensus. At times, multiple points were discussed at simultaneously often confusing some of the delegates. It was not surprising therefore that the first session did not find common ground on many of the important points, including the question of whether SDM should include fossile fuel projects or not (Klima Anzeiger reported).

During the afternoon working group session REDD+ was discussed and things seemed to improve. Issues were put to a vote more often, but when the delegates failed to reach a consensus the chairs still struggled to resolve the conflicts. Gradually however, negotiations moved ahead more quickly as delegates started to resolve issues among themselves more effectively. A breakthrough was allusive however due to a blocking position by the US on the REDD+ topic (Klima Anzeiger reported).

In the third and final session of the day various topics were touched upon. The chair made more use of technology to facilitate the negotiations and was able to discuss several issues including the field of Aviation & Shipping. Even though the process of decision making still remained somewhat vague, some progress was made in that all delegations appear to be aware of the many important unresolved disagreements and are now working in informal settings to resolve them.

Opinions differed amongst delegates regarding the state of the negotiations. Ireland and Singapore are pessimistic and are not expecting a successful agreement on the final day.  The Czech Republic, the UK, Germany, Canada and Brazil on the other hand were optimistic that all the disagreements could be solved.

Adaptation working group found consensus with regards to technology development and transfer

The afternoon session in the adaptation working group showed some promising progress. Six out of the nine paragraphs of Article 2 (Technology Development and Transfer) could be accepted during the session, whilst the remaining three paragraphs could successfully be rephrased in a task force, which led to consensus amongst the delegations. The completion of Article 2 lead to applause amongst the distinguished delegates.

Article 1 with regards to the Adaptation Fund however, led to a heated discussion about the respective financial contribution to the Fund (paragraph 1). The Solomon Island suggested that the contribution should be mandatory for developed countries and voluntary for developing countries. This motion was directly counter-attacked by the Russia delegation that urged to maintain voluntary based contributions. Furthermore, it was surprising to hear that the United States of America are willing to take a leading position and contribute a significant amount of money to the Adaptation Fund, considering the position held by the US a year ago in Barcelona. However, the delegate of the United States stressed the fact that the contribution should be voluntary and on a yearly basis. Another approach was suggested by the distinguished delegate of Venezuela, who purposed to base contribution on past emissions.

The tension in the room was reduced after the break when the Adaptation Chair suggested to initialise a transition to centralising the sourcing of the Adaptation Fund in the Green Climate Fund through integration of their governing structure, in order to optimise efficiency. However, further specifications with regards to this planned integration are required during tomorrow’s sessions.

Even though progress has been achieved in today’s negotiations, some delegates fear that by the end of COP25 some central gaps will remain unsolved. A representative of the SIDS coalition highlights the concerns:

“We are the last generation that has the opportunity to do things right. This is not a matter of probabilities anymore, but a matter of time. Small island states appreciate the efforts that all countries are putting towards reaching an ambitious agreement. However we would like to stress the urgency of moving from simply agreeing to commit. We kindly ask you to keep in mind the evidence that the IPCC 2018 provides regarding the irreversible damage if we miss the 1,5 target. We demand concrete numbers and plans!”


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