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Ecologic Institute continues to support negotiators at UN climate negotiations

Ecologic Institute continues to support negotiators at UN climate negotiations

After the disappointing climate summit in Copenhagen in late 2009, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol are continuing their search for common ground in order to build a future climate change regime. Currently, they are preparing for the upcoming climate summit at the end of the year in Mexico, their first conference of the parties since Copenhagen. Dr. Camilla Bausch and Dr. Ralph Bodle of Ecologic Legal continue to support the German delegation and EU team in the negotiations. In this capacity, they participated in the negotiations in June and August 2010 in Bonn and will travel to China in October to continue this work.

Since leaders in Copenhagen in 2009 were not able to agree on a future climate regime or even a roadmap to achieve such a regime, the challenge of 2010 is to define a path forward for the UN climate negotiations. Complex questions regarding the form (e.g. binding or non-binding; none, one or multiple Protocols) and content (e.g. financial architecture, sources of financing, framing of mitigation commitments and action, system of compliance, monitoring, reporting and verification) of a future regime await answers. Time is ticking given that science has outlined an urgent need for action to achieve a global peak of greenhouse gas emissions and an adequate decline thereafter in time to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.

The hope to pass a comprehensive binding climate treaty this year is rather low; too many questions are still unanswered and the negotiations in 2010 did not deliver great advancements thus far. Nevertheless, during the negotiations in August in Bonn, many parties have shown interest in a binding future agreement and in deciding on a mandate for negotiations leading to such an agreement at the end of 2010 in Mexico. However, there is still a long way to go to reach a consensus on such a mandate and, what is even more challenging, to agree on its content given that the subject of the mandate is closely linked to fundamental questions about the future of the Kyoto Protocol and how to adequately integrate the US as well as emerging economies like China, South Africa and Brazil into the regime.

The meeting in Cancun, Mexico will be of special importance because it represents a chance to show the world that the UN climate regime can still deliver; but, can it? The negotiations in China in October will be the next chance to see if there is hope to finding a common ground.

For the EU, one crucial issue is to fulfill the financial promises made in Copenhagen to underline its credibility and help to (re)build trust. Furthermore, it has to address critical issues like the surplus of Assigned Amount Units after the first commitment period from 2008-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol ("surplus AAUs") und take a decision on the question of whether or not the EU wants to raise its unilateral commitment to reduce emissions from 20% to -30% by 2020, as compared to the emission levels from 1990.

Keywords:
climate negotiations, climate financeCancun, Bonn, EU