Daily Report from Bonn: Wednesday, 9 June 2010

As the closing plenaries for the bodies and groups commence, I will do my best to keep everyone updated on the significant discussions that occur. Today, I will cover the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI), and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), and tomorrow I will summarize closing developments in the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP.

At 21:00 last night, the halls of the Hotel Maritim had emptied, yet not because anyone had gone home. In Saal Beethoven and Saal Maritim, SBSTA and SBI respectively forged on into the night as anxious NGO representatives and other groups observed from Saal Schumann. The issue at stake for SBSTA? The Draft conclusions have been proposed by the Chair regarding Scientific, technological, and socio-economic aspects of mitigating climate change. The conclusion states that the “[SBI] requested the secretariat to prepare a synthesis report on the work already undertaken under this agenda item and to make it available to the SBSTA for consideration at its thirty-third session.” Barbados, for AOSIS, and supported by Lesotho, for the LCD’s, Spain, for the EU, PANAMA, SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, COLOMBIA, MALAWI, the PHILIPPINES, and NORWAY, proposed requesting that the Secretariat prepare a technical paper on the options for limiting global average temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees C and 2 degrees C. Their proposal was opposed by SAUDI ARABIA and KUWAIT, and later VENEZUELA and QATAR, as it would have referenced spillover requests. SAUDIA ARABIA further questioned the capacity of the Secretariat to undertake this task, even suggesting that at-risk countries just use Google to do more research. This, might I note, was incredibly condescending. BOLIVIA, supported by NICARAGUA, suggested analyzing the 1 degree C target as well. After two breakouts into informal consultations, the plenary was suspended at 22:06 and scheduled to resume the next morning. Seeing as this issue is crucial to the survival of many nations, in particular from AOSIS and the African Group, it is extremely important that the SBI is thoroughly and carefully informed about these targets. Thus, I believe it is essential that this paper be prepared, even if to make more explicit the concerns of these nations.

The SBI concluded at 22:51 having not reached conclusions on Annual compilation and accounting report by protocol Annex B parties, as well as on Annex I national communications and GHG inventory data. These were huge losses on the part of environmental transparency. BOLIVIA and VENEZUELA voiced widely shared disappointment in the failure of developed countries to truly take responsibility for their emission reductions and to respect the principles of the KP. On the second issue, disagreement stemmed from whether the next national communications should be submitted after a two or four-year period.
BOLIVIA expressed disappointment toward the developed countries in that they wished to submit later despite resources available to do sooner. China, for the G-77/CHINA, dissented in that non-Annex I countries are being challenged to increase the frequency of their reporting will Annex I countries are not. Both of these issues will be picked up again at SBI 33, but to some, this is an unnecessary delay.

From my end, the SBI concluded on a somewhat gloomy note, while the
SBSTA also threatens to do so. Whereas good progress has been made in other areas like education, these key losses for the SBI and the eminent loss for the SBSTA reflect a continuing reluctance from parties to listen to each other. I am hopeful that the next SBI and SBSTA will bring improvement to these discussions, but I think that these disappointments serve to challenge us at NGOs to be more thorough and vigilant in our own research and advocacy I, for one, and prepared to do so.

Your reporter in Bonn,
Jessica Chen, Program Coordinator