Daily Report from Bonn: Monday, 7 June 2010

Climate negotiations in BonnGreetings from Bonn!

For the past week, the Hotel Maritim has been bustling with activity, from climate justice activists protesting on the outside, to delegates, NGO members, and other representatives collaborating on the inside. The meeting includes the 32nd sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC (AWG-LCA 10) and the twelfth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 12). Each group has its own focus based on new documentation prepared by their respective chairs for facilitation. The AWG-LCA has been preparing an outcome document to be presented to the sixteenth Conference of Parties (COP 16) at the November meeting in Cancún. The looming question for many of us is whether an addendum to the Kyoto Protocol or an entirely new treaty will emerge from their discussions. The AWG-KP has been working toward agreement on the “numbers,” or how emissions might be degraded effectively and equitably across member states to reduce global warming. The Subsidiary Body for Implementation has been considering issues of national communications and reporting, as well as financial mechanisms and capacity building. The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) has been examining methodological issues, technological transfer, the Nairobi work programme on impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation to climate change.

I arrived Sunday afternoon and attended the UN Climate Change Talks on Monday. The AWG-KP’s contact group on Annex I Parties’ emission reductions (aggregate/individual) teemed with debate over the scale of Annex I emission reductions and land use land use change and forestry (LULUCF) rules. I entered the Saal Maritim while the discussion was just getting heated over a table prepared by the European Union (EU) showing “Accounted net emissions and removals by the forest management sector based on 4 options, in % of KP base year” (photo provided). A detailed breakdown of the four options can be found in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.  ECO, a newsletter published by non-governmental environmental groups, phrased it best when they asked, “[I]s the [LULUCF] debate about emissions reductions – or is it about creative accounting that undermines overall ambition?” Because from our end of the table, its still about the Annex I Parties attempting to play the system of credits and debits to mask the real carbon costs of their management activities. Those who opposed them include the Africa Group, COMIFAC, Belarus, India and the Coalition of Rainforest Nations, who call for requiring absolute reductions in net emissions from forest management. Clearly, the aggregate number is at stake when it comes to LULUCF rules, and we hope and pray that the Annex I Parties do not get their way or the atmosphere will suffer the consequence.

I was also able to attend the GenderCC side-event at the Ministry of Environment, entitled “Gender and Climate Change research: gaps, questions and potentials. Gotelind Alber, of GenderCC – Women for Climate Justice, provided a great snapshot of the gender issue as manifested in both research and advocacy. She observed that though the multiple dimensions of gender differentials, such as representation, influence, and division of labor, are evident, the link between gender and climate change still requires more exploration and reinforcement.

Tomorrow, AWG-LCA and AWG-KP contact groups will continue their discussions from today. I am hopeful that today’s energetic debates will yield significant developments then.

Your reporter in Bonn,
Jessica Chen, Program Coordinator