Clash over “differentiation” of developing countries at mitigation contact group
Accra, 24 August (Meena Raman) – Developed and (UNFCCC), instead of addressing the implementation developing countries clashed over a range of issues gaps of the Convention.
relating to mitigation actions needed to address
climate change at the climate talks in Ghana. The issue The intense exchange took place at the contact group of 'differentiation' proved to be a key flash point, on enhanced action on mitigation and the associated when developed countries, led by the EU, began to enabling and supporting action on technology differentiate developing countries in relation to development and transfer and on the provision of financial resources and investment held on held on 23mitigation actions according to “advanced developing
countries” or “major economies” and other August under the AWG-LCA.
developing countries, including the least developed
The AWG’s Chair, Luiz Machado of Brazil, chaired countries (LDCs). Some countries called for the
development of a matrix or list of parameters to the contact group and emphasised that the task at enable such differentiation among developing hand was complex and that it related to elements of countries. the Bali Action Plan (BAP) in sub-paragraphs 1(b), 1(d)
and 1(e) as they relate to enhanced action on The principle of common but differentiated mitigation of climate change. (Sub-para 1(b) relates to responsibilities and respective capabilities was being mitigation commitments or actions of developed given a new twist with the assigning of “differentiated countries and mitigation actions by developing responsibilities” among groupings of developing countries; sub-para 1(d) relates to enhanced action on countries. The stance of the developed countries, technology development and transfer to support particularly the EU, gave rise to spirited and strong action on mitigation and adaptation; and sub-para 1(e) responses from several developing countries, including deals with enhanced action on the provision of the G77 and China, Brazil, India and Cuba. financial resources and investment to support action
on mitigation and adaptation and technology Developing countries said that the different nature of cooperation).
obligations of developing and developed countries
were very clear under the Bali Action Plan. The call Ambassador Machado stressed that actions on for differentiation of developing countries implied a mitigation should be examined along with the change in the provisions of the Convention, and is identification of the needs of implementation. The beyond the mandate of the Ad-Hoc Working Group contact group is to start doing this with a focus on on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) which answering the “what” question (i.e. what needs to be comes under the Bali Action Plan, and which itself done on enhancing mitigation actions). He said that does not call for differentiation. answering the “how” question, including the
generating of resources for delivery of these means of "If parties wish to renegotiate the Convention or the implementation, will be dealt with by the third contact Kyoto Protocol they can do so but in an appropriate group on 'Delivering finance and technology, forum," said the Chair of the G77 and China, including the consideration of institutional Ambassador Byron Blake. "The Bali Action Plan is for arrangements'.
closing the implementation gap, and that is our basis ...
Any attempt to discuss amendments to the (Three contact groups were established in Accra under Convention or Protocol cannot lead to effective the AWG-LCA – the first dealing with enhanced work." action on mitigation; the second with enhanced action
on adaptation; and the third with delivering on finance The mandate of the BAP was also an issue as and technology, as above.)
developing countries perceived the moves by
developed countries to renegotiate the architecture of For an agreed outcome at the COP 15 in Copenhagen, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Ambassador Machado said that there was a need to
identify issues and questions, with a view to
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identifying the common elements and areas for further countries undertake measures will depend on the work. He said that there was a good basis of work extent to which technology and financial resources are done and good proposals on the table from the provided by developed countries). She also said that previous meetings (held in Bangkok and Bonn). the economic and social consequences of response
measures including impacts on developing countries He listed a series of issues from the BAP that relate to are also an important consideration.
enhanced action on mitigation and the related means
of implementation. The list was not exclusive but was The European Union stressed that on mitigation, identified as being pertinent to discussions. Issues one important point of discussion which is identified were: “unmentionable” is that of differentiation. While it
; nationally appropriate mitigation reconfirmed the principle of common but
commitments or actions by all developed differentiated responsibilities and respective
countries; capabilities, it said that a key issue to explore is what
; the comparability of efforts among the this principle means for nationally appropriate
developed countries taking into account their mitigation actions between developing country
national circumstances; groupings. On mitigation, it acknowledged that
; nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developed countries will have to take the lead. It said
developing countries in the context of that there should be actions to reduce GHG emissions
sustainable development; by 30% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels for Annex I
; measurable, reportable and verifiable actions countries as a whole and this has to be done with a
and associated support in technology and comparability of efforts among developed countries.
; policy approaches in the forestry sector; The EU said that it would like to discuss how further
; cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-action could be undertaken by different developing
specific actions; countries. Actions include developing countries having
; approaches to enhance cost effectiveness of national low carbon plans; increased participation in
mitigation actions; the carbon market through sectoral trading and the
; economic and social consequences of sectoral mechanisms; the putting in place of
response measures; sustainable development policies and measures; how
; ways to strengthen the catalytic role of the such actions can be measured, reported and verified. It
Convention; asked for consideration of how actions will be
; technology development and transfer to differentiated between developing countries and
support mitigation action; and among sectors. Such actions should be appropriately
; financial resources and investment to support supported by technology, finance and capacity
action on mitigation. building by developed countries and the global carbon
market. It said that such support should be given to Speaking for the G77 and China, Bernarditas Mueller countries most in need of finance and technology. of the Philippines said that the Group would like to
ensure clarity as regards mitigation. She underlined In dealing with the issue of differentiation, it said that that developed and developing countries have distinct actions by advanced developing and major economies and different obligations. Developing countries do not are needed to achieve substantial deviation from have commitments for quantified emissions baselines in line with the findings of IPCC reports. reductions, whilst developed countries do and these Due to their special circumstances and limited are measurable, verifiable and reportable. Developed capabilities, LDCs should not have to take any countries must also ensure a comparability of efforts mandatory action, said the EU. They could however, and compliance. In relation to the developing be encouraged to participate in an improved Clean countries’ mitigation actions it is necessary to Development Mechanism to adopt sustainable recognise that many countries have undertaken development polices and measures. The EU invited national mitigation plans of action. Here we are reactions from Parties in this regard. examining the additionality of efforts needed to
address climate change climate change and its adverse The United States echoed the EU on the issue of
effects and for this financial and technology resources differentiation among developing countries. It said are needed, said Mueller. She also stressed that that an outcome in Copenhagen has to be simple, mitigation and adaptation cannot be separated. She effective and attractive to all Parties – simple enough
said that the G77 and China has developed positions for a 2009 deadline; and effective so that all countries and intends to make specific proposals on technology act according to their capabilities. The outcome and financing for mitigation actions. She stressed that should be sufficiently flexible and be supportive for the negotiating positions of the Group is premised on maintaining aspirations for economic growth and to the principle of common but differentiated reflect changes in national circumstances, it added. It responsibility as well as Article 4.7 of the Convention also ascribed to the principle of common and (which provides that the extent to which developing differentiated responsibilities but said that it was
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important to note that the principle's application has A substantial component of that is work on the Kyoto changed, as responsibilities and capabilities have Protocol track, it said. What cannot be delivered there evolved. It said that there were common features in will need to be achieved under the BAP. It also paragraph 1(b)(i) and 1(b)(ii) of the BAP and these supported the idea of differentiation among include the need for 'nationally appropriate mitigation developing countries.
actions' which would progress over time. It said that
the legal character of the actions would be the same. Philippines in response to the EU emphasised the As regards differentiation, it said that the more distinction between mitigation obligations between advanced developing countries need to reflect a developing and developed countries. It referred to greater level of efforts than least developing countries. various articles of the Convention and stressed the Whilst the US would do more and earlier, there are commitments made by developed countries. In higher expectations from major economies. It said looking at the issue of common but differentiated that differentiation among developing countries responsibilities, it said that it was also important to should be supported and that the support to be take into account the historical emissions and provided should also be differentiated to reflect the responsibilities of developed countries. In referring to changes in the economies of developing countries. the EU target of 20% reductions by 2020, it said that The nature and level of assistance would reflect in 1996 the EU was already talking about a 20% different levels of capability among developing reduction in emissions and two decades later, not countries. It also identified 'MRVs' as a central much has changed. On the issue of developing question which will be dealt with at a workshop in countries undertaking of a clean development pathway, 2009. it asked where has there been implementation of
support to be given to developing countries by Annex Japan said that a 50% reduction in GHG emissions I parties. It further stressed that such support cannot by 2050 was quite difficult to achieve and that be regarded as “assistance” but as commitments. It developed countries should nevertheless take the lead. said that thus far, there has been no provision of It also called for positive mitigation actions from financial resources other than voluntary contributions. developing countries. Instead of having specific It wanted to see new and additional resources over targets, it said that sectoral targets can help. It said that and above ODA. It said that developing countries the sectoral approach is like a technology needs have been waiting for 13 years for the developed assessment process. Whenever developing countries countries to meet their commitments on finance and submit technology needs assessments, they identify technology transfer. It expressed fear that the BAP sectoral needs. If we implement this sectoral approach process was going to delay urgent action that is on a cooperative basis, we can identify technology needed.
needs and it is much easier to then to offer technology,
it said. Cuba in supporting the G77 and the Philippines said
that the EU's intervention was provocative. In relation
Turkey also supported the need for differentiation to the issue of international support, it asked the EU and said that it forms a vital component of the Bali what it meant by referring to countries needing more Action Plan. It suggested a list of parameters to make support than others when the BAP talks about differentiation possible and for defining future support for all. It also enquired what was meant by mitigation actions such as GDP per capita, energy use LDCs not needing to take mandatory action, which per capita, emissions per capita, the human implied that those who are not LDCs need to development index etc. It said that the contact group undertake mandatory actions. This it said was a was the right platform to discuss this issue to enhance deviation from the BAP.
implementation of mitigation actions.
China said that in order to go forward, it is important Australia supported the EU on the need to work on to make clear that the obligations of developed and differentiation. It also suggested the need for a matrix developing countries under the BAP are totally to look at differentiation. It said that the LDCs should different. Developed countries have commitments and not have the same sort of matrix. In saying that any responsibility for binding targets. Unfortunately, no number of figures could be used, it compared the targets have been set and so comparability of efforts GDP per capita of Ukraine to that of developing among developed countries cannot be discussed, it countries and said that 45 countries in Non-Annex I said. In relation to nationally appropriate mitigation have higher GDP than Ukraine. actions by developing countries, it said that many
countries have made great efforts, including China New Zealand said that the mandate of LCA is for through its National Climate Change Action Plan actions now, up to and beyond 2012. In the case of which involves reducing energy intensity levels as well mitigation, it is the beyond 2012 that is critical. The as investment in renewable energies. It said that some 'what' of the mitigation component is to ensure action developed Parties do not like to see China's efforts on on mitigation beyond 2012 is sufficient for the mitigation actions. It stressed the need to build emissions pathway to achieve a long term global goal.
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effective mechanisms to link developing country relates to mitigation involving the reduction of the rate actions with the means of implementation. of emissions growth.
India in response to the EU expressed its deep Brazil stressed that the work and mandate of the LCA concern about irresponsible statements being made. It relates to the enhanced implementation of the said that there was a need to be respectful of the Convention. It is a very distinct mandate from an Convention in its principles in letter and spirit. It said amendment of the Convention. If implementation of that Parties were not here to re-interpret the principles the existing commitments of the Convention is already which are central to the process. India highlighted that a major challenge, than it is seriously worrying for this the historic emissions of the UK and US per capita are process to consider proposals and options that would around 1,100 tonnes while India's historical lead to amendments to the Convention. contribution is only 23 tonnes per capita. It asked if
there was anyone in the room who did not understand The EU in response to the G77 and other developing the development imperative. It stressed that India countries said that no matter how much one quotes needs development for improving the lives of its from the Convention, the issue of differentiation people, and this means rising GHG emissions. It among developing countries and groupings in a future emphasised that securing resources to undertake regime remains, as it was important to its political adaptation efforts which is an absolute must for constituencies.
developing countries. It recalled that the largest share
of contributions to GHG emissions is from the In response to the various exchanges, Byron Blake of developed world and that the developing countries Antigua and Barbuda, who serves as Chair of the
bear a disproportionate burden of the impacts. G77 and China, said that the international community Reduction of GHG emissions by all developed works on the basis of decisions and mandates. He said countries is important. For developing countries, that the meeting was being held under the decision of mitigation actions are determined nationally. As for the COP and the mandate of the BAP. If parties wish the mitigation commitments in developed countries, to renegotiate the Convention or the Kyoto Protocol, the issue of comparability of efforts requires they have the sovereign right to do so in an international negotiations. All developed countries appropriate forum. The BAP was set to address major need to develop quantified emission reduction targets. implementation gaps since the existence of the In this regard, it does not matter whether one calls it a Convention, he said. The present process is to look commitment or action, India said. Instead of achieving over and see how we can close the implementation sharp declines in GHG levels, developed countries gap, said Blake. “That is the instruction and that is our have increased their emissions by 2.6. %. Moreover, basis. If not, we cannot participate without an their per capita emissions have risen, said India. Based instruction. Any attempt to discuss amendments to on IPCC scenarios, reductions of at least 25-40% by the Convention or Protocol cannot lead to effective 2020 based on 1990 levels is required. However, this work,” he said. He urged parties to do what is in the excludes the consideration of lifestyle changes which mandate and for that to be done.
are also important.
The contact group will be meeting again. Brazil said that mitigation efforts by developing
countries thus far have not received much recognition
and that this must change. It cited efforts by the
country to use ethanol as renewable energy and at
combating deforestation. It said that the challenge is
not getting everybody on board but on how to
enhance action on mitigation with the enabling of
finance and technology. In this regard, it said that it is
necessary to consider a deficit in compliance with the
commitments and obligations under the Convention.
The Convention and the BAP are clear as regards the
differences in the quantity and quality of the
mitigation actions between developed and developing
countries. For Annex 1 countries, it is the absolute
reduction of quantified emission targets as well as a
comparability of efforts among them. For Non-Annex
1 countries, it is the reduction in the rate of emissions
growth, said Brazil. In relation to 'MRVs' for Annex I
countries, the nature of mitigation includes the
quantified emission limitation and reductions
objectives. For Non-Annex I countries, the MRV