Slow Going at the UNFCCC

As you all know, Copenhagen talks were held up all day yesterday because of the position of the LDCs and Africa Group that they wanted the Kyoto Protocol track resolved before continuing under the LCA. After a long-delayed plenary session in which COP President Connie Hedegaard emphasized the commitment to transparency, openness and due process, Parties agreed to resume negotiations in the late afternoon through a series of Ministerial consultations on particular sticking points, in particular:

– Annex 1 commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (it was KEY for developing countries, concerned that the KP will expire and be collapsed into the LCA track, that this be taken up first)

– Long-term financing for mitigation and adaptation

– Long term term emission reduction goal, its relation to sustainable development and the impacts of climate change

– Developing country mitigation efforts

Continued drafting of text continued late last night, with little progress made on the critical Shared Vision and Financing sections. In a session this morning at 11, LCA Chair Michael Zammit-Cutajar released a draft text for consideration. Important issues are still out of the text, including any global emissions reduction, temperature, or concentration target.

The finance text emerged late in the morning – it is just two pages long, very vague and entirely bracketed. There is no mention of specific numbers and the fund governance structure also remains unspecified. Coming from the Ministerial Finance Consultation, it is clear large differences still remain, over issues such as the nature of developing country contributions, whether developed country contributions be assessed or voluntary, the role of private finance vs public finance.

Currently I am sitting waiting for another LCA session to begin. It was supposed to start at 3pm and has been pushed to 5pm, which can’t be a good sign. The LCA plenary to finalize texts to be passed onto the high-level segment is scheduled to take place tonight at 7pm and it is very unclear what, if anything, will be agreed by then.