This is the third in a series of bulletins authored by Doug Tingey who is in Copenhagen attending the climate change negotiations from December 7th to 20th. Doug is Counsel to Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) in Calgary and is a member of the firm's Corporate Commercial Practice Group and Climate Change Focus Group. Doug advises on business law aspects of climate change mitigation to clients carrying on business around the world. BLG considers the outcome of COP 15 to be critical for many Canadian businesses and is providing these bulletins as a method of keeping clients and friends of the firm informed during the conference.
This bulletin is being written at noon in Copenhagen on Thursday December 17 – the final week of the COP 15 conference. The remaining moving parts in the negotiations are moving rapidly within ever smaller circles as access to the Bella Centre has been limited severely and negotiations on the larger text involves fewer countries in fewer informal meetings/conversations. Updates are now being sent by email between members of the various civil society and business groups actively lobbying delegates with regular complaints of Blackberry routers being overwhelmed. The open face of the negotiations is now limited pretty much to the heads of state statements to the COP. The remaining AWG contact groups have been suspended indefinitely.
A new COP sponsored contact group has been formed to finish work on unresolved issues on the basis of both the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP with groups to address the drafts presented to the COP this afternoon. Unresolved issues to b addressed include: Shared Vision, Financial resources and investments, Enhanced action on mitigation and means of implementation, Mechanisms to record NAMAs and support for NAMAs, REDD, Use of Markets, Adaptation, Technology Development and Transfer as well as Capacity Building and Institutional Arrangement. Developing country negotiators continue to worry that documents presented to high level COP will be other than those produced by AWGs.
Late yesterday, and following a similar statement of support for significant funding by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Secretary of State Clinton announced that
“in the context of a strong accord in which all major economies stand behind meaningful mitigation actions and provide full transparency as to their implementation, the United States is prepared to work with other countries toward a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries. We expect this funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. This will include a significant focus on forestry and adaptation, particularly, again I repeat, for the poorest and most vulnerable among us.”
The ambiguity of this statement is a very good example of the ambiguity surrounding many of the ongoing key issues including: financing (amounts, recipients and mechanics), commitments (from whom and how ambitious), numbers (what they are and how they are calculated) and legal form.
WWF – US responded to the Clinton statement as follows: "Secretary Clinton's 100 billion dollar surprise breathes new life into the sputtering negotiations. It bridges the needs of the developed and developing worlds and changes the game in these global talks. All that remains is an agreement between the US and China about how they will define transparency, and a commitment by President Obama to make climate legislation his top priority for the new year."
Federal Minister of Environment, Jim Prentice is scheduled to speak second to last possibly very late Thursday night or early Friday morning and is expected to address the question of Canada’s commitment to emissions reduction (rumour has it that the 1990 baseline has been accepted) and developing country financing.
The Secretariat chairman’s recent comment is that we are in an “all or nothing” situation.
Sub-national side events drew an impressive list of provincial and municipal leaders – premiers of BC, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, various provincial environment ministers, and the mayors of Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. Two of the premiers, Campbell and Charest, clearly indicated that they are pushing ahead with provincial regulatory initiatives within the framework of the Western Climate Initiative’s cap and trade.