Saturday, December 15, 2007
Bali: UN Climate Conference outcome
It was an 11th hour nail biting, final pulling together after berating the Americans for their attempts to sabotage any agreement, which resulted in .. a compromise.
World governments agreed a negotiating framework to decide a new global climate policy by 2009 on 13th December 2007 for the post-2012 period.
The Bali road-map commits all developed countries to quantified greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and says "deep cuts" will be needed. Developing countries will commit to "appropriate mitigation actions".
Disappointingly, upon the insistence of the US, the road-map suggests no concrete emission reduction targets. But a footnote makes reference to documents from the IPCC which say reductions of up to 40 per cent by 2020 are needed to head off dangerous climate change. Greenpeace lamented the lack of references to "crucial cuts" and the "relegation of science to a footnote".
On the positive, general approval was voiced for consensuses reached on tackling emissions from deforestation, on enhancing technology development and transfer, and on stimulating financial flows to fund all climate change-related action.
However, the next two years of talks promise to be difficult. Somewhat unsurprisingly, US officials saying that they had "serious concerns" about the Bali deal. White House spokesman Dana Perino said climate negotiators "must give sufficient emphasis to the important and appropriate role that the larger emitting developing countries should play" - a clear reference to India and China. This may complicate, and indeed hinder the process - a polite way of saying it is anticipated that the US will continue to be obstructive.
[Participation in the Kyoto Protocol, where dark green indicates countries that have signed and ratified the treaty and yellow indicates states that have signed and hope to ratify the treaty. Australia's new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has promised to sign and ratify it - so should be coloured green also.The United States has signed the treaty but continues to refuse to ratify it.]
Technology transfer deal: a clear mandate
In a separate agreement in Bali, parties to the Kyoto protocol agreed to be fully guided by the IPCC's recommendations in setting a second round of commitments by 2009 (which suggests those 40% GHG reductions by 2020 will be implemented in due course - a matter of watch that space). It is intended for the two tracks - the Bali road-map and Kyoto - eventually to merge. A review of the protocol, which will focus also on how to enhance carbon markets, was also launched.
One deal was reached that can be considered the most significant milestone yet on the road towards a new global climate agreement for the post-2012 period. Agreement was reached on a text setting out how the industrialised world should transfer technology to developing countries. The text must still be rubber-stamped by ministers, but no problems are foreseen since it has been agreed by officials representing all parties.
The deal should create a new entity dedicated to technology transfer under the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a fund that supports environmental projects in developing countries. It is not clear whether funding will come from elsewhere within the GEF or from outside.
An expert group will analyse current and potential funding sources for a wish list of developing country technology transfer-related demands, with a view to filling gaps and developing new financing tools if necessary. It must report back by 2010.
Performance indicators for technology transfer will be developed.