Ears to the Ground

Pete Holzaepfel T’12 asked for an update on the proceedings.

Two quick thoughts: First, we are not at all linked into the actual negotiations. Part of this is the challenge of navigating the official UN channels, although the UN does offer some help to NGO observers coming up to speed. The other part of it is that our team has chosen to spend most of our time at side events and in informational meetings (such as the IETA-sponsored event Alex describes). Second, despite our being somewhat disconnected from the actual proceedings, it is probably still too early to tell. Conventional wisdom says that deals come together in the very last part of the conference.

Nevertheless, two excellent sources for following the daily proceedings are worth sharing.

Daily Reporting from the IISD (fairly objective)
Go to Daily Web Coverage on the left side of the page
Here is an example http://www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12490e.html

Highly technical, but features a section at the bottom of each day called “In the Corridors”. Here’s an excerpt from today:

Some delegates, still “traumatized by Copenhagen,” expressed concerns over transparency and speculated that many discussions were taking place behind closed doors. Those in the know confirmed that the “green room” discussions, convened by the Mexicans, were becoming a regular thing with mitigation being one of the key issues discussed. Some of the parties’ concerns crystallized during the evening’s AWG-LCA (ed note: AdHoc Working Group – Long-term Cooperative Action, basically the core group trying to determine the successor to the current Kyoto agreement that expires in 2012) meeting on mitigation with one delegate expressing alarm that “this process will be undermined if core issues related to mitigation are the subject of consultations in which all parties can’t participate.” Others, however, were encouraged by the consultation process: “Someone has to focus on the broad mitigation issues that are common to both tracks and the COP Presidency has reaffirmed that these complementary consultations will support the work of the AWGs. (AdHoc Working Groups)”

Daily Opinion and Reporting from the NGO Coalition
The ECO newsletter

The ECO newsletter is printed in 5,000 copies and distributed around the NGO areas and the conference center each morning, published by the Climate Action Network.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s:

The future of Annex I forests and their role in climate change mitigation is about to be decided here in Cancun.

ECO has long highlighted how inappropriate and possibly fraudulent LULUCF accounting rules could be used by Annex I Parties to avoid accounting for their forestry emissions. This week a group of NGOs assessed the scale of these impacts, in particular, the magnitude of proposed forest management baselines relative to the ambition of Parties’ pledges. Astonishingly, the emission reduction efforts of some Parties could be reduced by up to 66% as a consequence of unaccounted emissions from logging their forests.

There is still more than one proposal on the table, and it is clear that the impact of forest management accounting on countries’ pledges will differ depending on the approach agreed upon.

A review process was proposed by developing countries earlier this year to evaluate the robustness of favoured baseline proposals by Annex I countries. The new KP Chair’s text calls on Parties to provide the required information by February 2011 and for expert reviewers to conclude their review by May.

But let’s be clear. The impact of the proposed reference levels is unacceptable and a review won’t fix that.




About karstenbarde
Tuck MBA, co-chair of 2011 Business & Society Conference, officer of Dartmouth Energy Collaborative, and blogger for COP16 delegation.

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