UNFCCC COP 14, Poznan Poland
Posted by NYCA Blogger on December 23, 2008
The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, was held from 1-12 December 2008. These events drew over 9250 participants, including almost 4000 government officials, 4500 representatives of UN bodies and agencies, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, and more than 800 accredited members of the media.
The main focus in Poznań, however, was on long-term cooperation and the post-2012 period, when the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period expires. Poznań marked the halfway mark towards the December 2009 deadline.
In Poznan, by contrast, the negotiations took place against the backdrop of a rapidly worsening global financial situation. At the same time, Barack Obama’s victory in the US Presidential elections was a reason for optimism in Poznan but In Poznan; the US was still represented by the Bush administration and remained relatively subdued during the official negotiations. Overall, most felt that the political circumstances surrounding the Poznan Conference were not ideal for major political breakthroughs, which could justify its modest results.
The agenda in Poznan was exceptionally full, with six bodies considering more than 90 agenda items and sub-items. This put a strain on many delegations and highlighted the importance of prioritizing work. Leading to a focus on issues related to the Bali Roadmap: the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments by Annex I Countries under the Protocol (AWG-KP) and the second review of the Kyoto Protocol under Article 9. Delegates also focused on a few other agenda items included the operationalization of the Adaptation Fund and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
AWG-LCA: The common understanding seemed to be emerging in Poznan that “a shared vision” covers all the key building blocks of the Action Plan, namely mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. Many also felt that progress was made on the concept of monitoring, reporting and verifying (MRV) and the idea of a registry for nationally appropriate mitigation actions in developing countries.
AWG-KP: For the AWG-KP, the focus was on a strategic discussion of all the key items on its agenda and on the work program for 2009, with a view to agreeing on further actions required to finalize Annex I countries’ post-2012 commitments in Copenhagen. Most felt that the outcomes from the AWG-KP were modest, limited to the 2009 work program and to agreement that Annex I countries’ further commitments should “principally” take the form of quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs).
ADAPTATION FUND: The success on the Adaptation Fund was tempered by the inability to secure additional resources for the Fund due to lack of agreement on extending the share of proceeds (or “adaptation levy”) to Joint Implementation and emissions trading under the second review of the Protocol under Article 9. Most developing countries expressed deep disappointment at the failure to increase adaptation funding.
Way ahead: Leaving Poznan, there was little doubt in participants’ minds that plenty of critical work remains for 2009 under the Bali Roadmap. The Poznan Conference was widely seen as a successful step in that direction as the Chairs of both AWGs were mandated to prepare documents for the March/April meeting in Bonn.
While many agreed that the Poznan meeting resulted in some progress and positive steps forward, the general feeling was that negotiators had not achieved any major breakthroughs. Those who had hoped for decisive action blamed a lack of political leadership and determination. Instead, many predict that agreement on the most critical issues, including mid- and long-term emission goals and finance, will not be reached before Copenhagen. Understandably, some participants left Poznan somewhat worried, feeling that while scientific evidence on climate change is strengthening, the “spirit of Bali” is weakening along with countries’ determination to fight climate change in light of the serious economic crisis.