Updates from Bangkok

Two new developments | October 05, 2009 | IST: 11p.m

1) It seems that Indonesia has made a proposal for deviating from business as usual. Indonesia has said that it is ready to deviate 26 per cent below Business As Usual (BAU) scenario on its own. They have also said that they can go up to 41 per cent below BAU if adequate finances and technology is made available. Indians said that they were a little worried about such a proposal.

2) Venezuela has made a very interesting submission in the LCA. This proposal was basically meant to thwart the attempts of the US and the EU to get more offsets for reducing emissions and blurring the de-lineation between two ad-hoc working groups. The proposal says that to meet their Kyoto targets as committed under the AWG-KP, the Annex I countries should not use the offsets generated through processes, which are under discussion at the AWG-LCA. They can only use credits, which are generated through offset mechanisms under the Kyoto process. On the face of it, this seems to be a brilliant proposal. Apparently it was India’s idea and Venezuela submitted the proposal on behalf of many developing countries.

MRV “Appendix” (referenced in FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/INF.2, at para 21(c))

1) With respect to financial resources, Article 4.3 of the Convention applies to the reporting requirements and capacity needs described in this Appendix.

2) Each Party shall maintain the capacity to implement the MRV provisions of this Agreement by establishing and maintaining [specific institutional arrangements devoted to MRV][a national MRV unit].

3) Recalling Article 4.1(a) and Article 12 of the Convention, all Parties shall provide the inventories referred to in Article 12.1 of the Convention on an annual basis, except that least developed country Parties may provide such inventories at their discretion.

4) Recalling Article 4.1(b) and Article 12 of the Convention, with respect to the actions inscribed in Appendix 1/schedule, Parties shall report on:

  • The status of the implementation of their actions, including for developed countries economy-wide quantitative emission reduction/removals;
  • The emission reductions achieved, including any significant changes from estimates;
  • The aggregate effect of actions in terms of emission reductions achieved;
  • The methodologies used and key assumptions made in determining such reductions;
  • The use, in any, of international offsets or international emissions trading mechanisms;
  • For its supported actions, the sources and amounts of support and the enabling environment provided by the reporting Party; and
  • The support provided to developing countries with respect to their actions inscribed in Appendix 1/schedules.

5) The frequency of reporting described in paragraph 4 above will be established as follows:

  • Developed country Parties and those Parties with greater than [X] % of world emissions report every [2][3] years; and
  • Other countries report every [6] years, except LDCs may report at their discretion.

6) Recalling Article 4.1(b) and Article 12 of the Convention, Parties shall report their low carbon strategy. Parties shall initially report, by [2012], on the elements of the strategy [described in Article X] and provide a supporting description of methodologies and key assumptions. Parties shall report any updates to the strategy in subsequent national communications.

7) National inventories and the information reported under paragraph 4 will be subject to regular independent review by an expert panel. Such a review will be triggered by a Party’s communication of the information described under paragraph 4. Following the communication of such information, the expert panel shall:

  • With respect to a Party’s inventories, conduct a review in accordance with the existing process for technical reviews of Annex I inventories under the Convention, as set forth in relevant decisions of the Conference of the Parties;
  • With respect to mitigation actions inscribed in Appendix 1/schedule, conduct an assessment of a Party’s implementation of its actions, as reported by the Party, to determine to what extent the Party has undertaken the inscribed actions, including an assessment of the emission reductions achieved; and
  • With respect to inventories and actions, identify as appropriate any financial, technological, or capacity needs that may enhance implementation.

8) In conducting its work, the expert panel may also:

  • Seek clarifications from the Party concerned;
  • Conduct in-country visits as necessary at the invitation of the Party concerned; and
  • Seek and receive information from other Parties, stakeholders or other sources as relevant to the Party concerned.

9) No later than [10] months following the communication of information described under paragraph 4, the expert panel shall prepare a report comprising its assessment for consideration by the SBI. Prior to finalization of the report, the Party concerned shall have the opportunity for review and comment.

10) No later than [15] months following the communication of information described under paragraph 4, the SBI shall conduct an in-session review of the Party. During a country review session, the SBI shall have before it all information submitted under this [Appendix] by the Party concerned as well as the report of the expert panel. The country review session shall consist of the following elements:

  • Brief presentations by the Party concerned and the expert panel; and
  • Interactive dialogue between the Party concerned and the SBI.

11) During the [2] week period following a country review session, any Party may submit in writing, through the Secretariat, additional questions, including any questions of implementation, to the Party concerned, which shall endeavor to respond in writing to those questions, through the Secretariat, within [2] months.

12) Where a Party raises a question of implementation to the Party concerned regarding the fulfillment of its actions inscribed in Appendix 1/schedule, the Party concerned shall reply in writing within [3] months. During that time, the Party raising the question and the Party concerned may engage in bilateral or other consultations, as needed.

13) At its next session following a country review, the SBI shall adopt a country review report consisting of the following elements:

    • A summary of the proceedings of the review session, including the expert panel report;
    • A record of written questions submitted by Parties and the responses provided by the Party concerned;
    • A listing and brief description of any questions of implementation raised by Parties and any responses by the Party concerned.

14) The Party concerned may, within [2] months of the release of the country review report, submit to the Secretariat any final observations it wishes to make or actions it wishes to take. Any such comments shall be made publicly available by the Secretariat as an addendum to the country review report.

15) The SBI shall forward country review reports annually to the Conference of the Parties for its consideration.


Miles to go before Copenhagen | October 05, 2009 | IST: 9p.m

One week gone and we have not made much progress. In fact, the doomsday scenario - the demise of Kyoto Protocol - seems increasingly to be a reality.

Today in the afternoon, Yu Qingtai, the Chinese Ambassador and Lumumba, Ambassador of Sudan and the current holder the G-77 chair, lashed out at the US and other developed countries for attempting to kill the Kyoto Protocol.

Addressing a press conference organised by the South Centre, Lumumba said that the EU, earlier a supporter of Kyoto Protocol, is now emulating the US in hiding behind isolationist tactics.In a scathing critique, Lumumba pointed out that under the LCA, the group issues of equity and historical responsibilities are being thrown out of the window.

Developed countries are also completely unwilling to announce the details about the mitigation targets they will undertake. They argue that before announcing mitigation target, they need to know what action developing countries will take, without any financial or technological support.

Yu stated that the primary reason why no progress has been made at Bangkok is the lack of political will in Annex I countries to finalize their Kyoto II targets. On the contrary, these countries are seeking to terminate the entire Kyoto process, which, Yu said, was an unfair way to negotiate.

In the last few days there has been uncertainty over the EU’s position on Kyoto. Today morning Sweden, the country heading the EU, clarified that the EU still had faith in the Kyoto process. But then, it said that the EU is looking at a new legal instrument, under which existing bits and pieces of the Kyoto Protocol will be included.

This move amounts to doing away with the current architecture of Kyoto, making a new global deal necessary - that is exactly what the US wants.

India, along with other developing countries, has been opposing this move. The best the developing countries are willing to accept is to take forward the same Kyoto architecture with whatever amendments required.

The meeting of the Contact Group on Mitigation under AWG-LCA has just ended. In the last few minutes, the US suddenly made a new proposal on MRV and recommended a review to be included in the negotiating text.

The recommendation contains a number of proposals. I am sure that developing countries will find a few of them contentious.

The Chair could not resist commenting that such proposals for inclusion in text should be submitted in advance, so that other parties have time to go through them and come back with their comments. The US proposal is attached.

So the scenario in Bangkok is far from ideal. And we are now just 8 negotiating days away (3 more days in Bangkok and 5 in Barcelona) from Copenhagen.


The dramatic American briefing | October 05, 2009 | IST: 7p.m

The briefing by Jonathan Pershing, head of the US negotiating team, turned out to be a dramatic event, with Pershing almost staging a walkout at one point.

The briefing, supposed to be for selective audience, was featured as an open meeting on the CCTV monitors. As a result, a gathering meant for the US delegation and international NGOs was attended by others including the media.

Pershing began with an update on negotiations, areas of good progress and divergence. Midway through the meeting, he spotted TV crews setting up cameras. Asserting that this meeting was off-the-record, Pershing declared that the briefing was not for the press.

At this point, most journalists walked out.

A mediaperson walked in later and was promptly requested to leave. The journalist persisted, asking when the press briefing was scheduled. Pershing complied with an answer, only to hear the journalist retort: while the most critical talk on climate change is being held, journalists are told to await a skimpy briefing at the end of the talks.

Offended Pershing politely asked the mediaperson to leave. The journalist, showing similar politeness, asked to be allowed to stay.

An irate Pershing then got up to leave in a huff, maintaining that the press briefing will happen later.

The impasse ended with the journalist deciding to leave, but not before he expressed his anguish about the media not being updated promptly enough on the developments.