UN maps out national positions ahead of climate talks

After a year of debate on what a post-Kyoto climate deal should look like, the United Nations has published a report setting out its ideas in the hope that it will facilitate an agreement during upcoming negotiations in Poznan, Poland, on 1-12 December.

Background:

Since last year’s UN talks in Bali (Indonesia), countries have held regular talks and floated ideas and positions to come up with the architecture for a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012. 

A draft report published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change last Friday (21 November) gathered proposals presented by countries and observer organisations in view of finalising a deal by December 2009 in Copenhagen.

In the UN’s draft report, the European Union reiterated its commitment to limiting global average temperature increases to two degrees Celsius through measures such as emissions trading and technology transfer. China and Latin America noted that developed countries will commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25-40% below 1990 levels and by approximately 80-95% in 2050. 

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation should constitute an important part of the deal, according to Brazil. “Efforts depend on institutional capacity, investment capital, technology, research and development, appropriate policies and incentives,” said the government in Brasilia. 

Need for technology mechanism and adaptation funds 

China and the Group of 77, the largest intergovernmental organisation of developing states in the United Nations, stressed the need for a technology mechanism under the UNFCCC. “Enhanced mitigation and adaptation under the UNFCC requires an acceleration in the development, deployment, adoption, diffusion and transfer of environmentally sound technologies,” reads a report proposing the establishment of an executive body on technology. The group also suggested the provision of a multilateral climate technology fund. 

Brazil and China, among other developing economies, recall that measures to fight climate change need an equal distribution of commitments. “An important equity factor in determining the burden sharing for mitigation will be the historical responsibilities for climate change. Historical responsibility means that, in facing the challenge of climate change, countries should contribute to the solution according to their contribution to the problem,” reads the Brazilian position. 

China fully supports the creation of financial mechanism that would enhance finance and investment flows to support actions, especially in developing countries. But a cluster of countries, including New Zealand, noted that effective financing requires action at multiple levels, including redirecting private and public investment and stressed the need for objective criteria to guide eligibility. 

African countries to negotiate as a bloc in climate talks 

Meanwhile, African countries have agreed to stick together at the negotiating table. Delegates from Africa’s 53 nations signed their Algiers Declaration on Friday (21 November), which is supposed to give them a greater say in the future pact. Experts say the move might also pave the way for Africa and Europe to negotiate a common position for the Copenhagen agreement. 

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