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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 18th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Final Evaluation Of The Bali Meetings Looks Better Then We Dared To Hope For – This Because There Are Clear Dynamics That Does Not Allow Leaders In Power To Have Their Ways.


OK, time has come that we summarize the events of the last two weeks and after that march away to other pressing issues.

Clearly, Bali did not live up to the exaggerated expectations the European leaders put into their wishes from the meetings, but was it a failure?

For those that expected the earth to fall into climate-collapse and disrepair, Bali presented very dim results. But then, if the worst of the prognoses would indeed materialize, then also all what Europe does is not sufficient, and a more forthcoming result from Bali could also not have saved the world – for that – it is already late.


But, if we think with cooler minds, then we can see that Bali has made it possible for a definite move to progress:

– Let us start with Japan and Russia that obliged themselves with planning for moves to reduce dramatically their CO2 emissions.

– The Responsibilities of the more advanced among the developing countries were defined more accurately.

– With the political U-turn in Australia, a country that joined now the ranks of those that signed the Kyoto Protocol – this left in the rejectionist’s front only the US and Canada from among the industrialized countries.

– With the US there was also a change. There is a slowly creeping change of mind and the surprising agreement to the consensus by its delegate to Bali, the White House insider, Paula Dobriansky, has now made possible that an
agreement will be readied in two years.

– The eventual agreement will go beyond the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, because now all big States will be part of the agreement. The finalization of such an agreement will occur after the Presidential elections in the USA.
Seemingly it was always planed this way.

– By the time of the COP 14 of the UNFCCC meeting in Poznan, in December 2008, there will already be a new US “President-in-Waiting” and he or she will come to the meetings or will send an emissary. With the new President
moving into the White House on January 20, 2009, it will be this new President that will be involved in the negotiations during the year 2009 – with the final outcome planned for Copenhagen at the COP 15 of the UNFCCC.
All the main contenders in the US elections, the Democrats, and the Republicans, have shown interest in pulling through the new climate change agreement, this because there is already a majority among the US population that wants positive results. Some of the main US States, including California, are already moving along lines similar to the EU States. Many US businesses are already on the process train – and the train is moving indeed.

– It is clear that the developing countries will commit suicide if they do not think about the effects their fast industrialization has on the planet, but it is also true that they will do nothing unless the industrialized countries make first and decisive moves. So, a US Administration that starts by showing a positive example will have a much higher chance for succeeding in its negotiations with China and India, then the present Bush Administration.

– So far as the UN is concerned, the snail pace of the UN decision making process is a hindrance by the fact that it is slower then the pace of climate change. We say thus with full understanding of the meaning of this skepticism
when thinking about the UN, that the efforts by the US in starting bilateral negotiations with other large polluters, if handled by a US President who is keen about what he says, is not such a bad idea as it sounds, when put forward
by the present US administration. Eventually a club of major polluters, let’s say of 80% of the total emissions will be formed, and the implementation of the program that will be discussed in Copenhagen will be entrusted to this club.
Were the US present Administration not as obstinate as they were, they could even have claimed some rights for trying to engineer this polluter’s club. The reality remains that they lost credibility by expressively not recognizing the
seriousness of the problem, censoring scientific research, removing some of the best leaders in climate change issues and so on …, but looking back at Bali, all may yet be back on track. Thank you German Minister of the
Environment, Mr. Gabriel – you are credited with getting the US attention on 12/16.2007 as you got the UN Commission on Sustainable Development attention on the night of 5/11/ 2007. The post-Kyoto process was put now back on tracks; the CSD process has yet to be revived. The CSD is important because in the end effect, there will be no action on climate change if there is no consensus that all development must eventually be of the Sustainable
Development kind.

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A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF COP 13 & COP/MOP 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             by the IISD team in Bali the KIMO ENB Summary and Analysis now online:
BALI: ISLAND OF THE GODS AND BREAKTHROUGHS?
You should not be impelled to act for selfish reasons, nor should you be attached to inaction. (Bhagavad Gita. 2.47)
Marking the culmination of a year of unprecedented high-level political, media and public attention to climate change science and policy, the Bali Climate Change Conference produced a two-year “roadmap” that provides a vision, an outline destination, and negotiating tracks for all countries to respond to the climate challenge with the urgency that is now fixed in the public mind in the wake of the headline findings of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. The outline destination is an effective political response that matches both the IPCC science and the ultimate objective of the Convention; it was never intended that the Bali Conference would focus on precise targets. Instead, the divergent parties and groups who drive the climate regime process launched a negotiating framework with “building blocks” that may help to square a number of circles, notably the need to reconcile local and immediate self-interest with the need to pursue action collectively in the common and long-term interests of people and planet. The informal dialogue over the past two years has now been transformed into a platform for the engagement of parties from the entire development spectrum, including the United States and developing countries.
This brief analysis opens with a discussion on the complexity of the climate change process, and describes the elements of the Bali roadmap and their potential significance in enabling negotiations on the future of the climate regime, including a post-2012 agreement. It identifies the main political achievements of the Conference, and assesses some of the specific outcomes from negotiations on the so-called “building blocks” of mitigation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer.
MANAGING COMPLEXITY
Of the 10,000 participants in the Bali Conference, it is likely only a handful of them had a meaningful grasp of all the pieces that now make up the deepening complexity of the climate change regime. Delegates in Bali had to balance meetings of the UNFCCC COP and the Kyoto Protocol COP/MOP, along with the subsidiary bodies, the Ad Hoc Working Group, dozens of contact groups and informal consultations on issues ranging from budgets to national reporting to reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, not to mention side events held by governments, international organizations, business and industry, and environmental NGOs. Balancing the large number of participants, issues and negotiating venues requires stamina, time management and a lot of creativity. With the launch of new negotiations on a long-term agreement, which, by definition must be more ambitious than anything that has gone before, yet another piece has been added to the ever-growing complex puzzle that makes up the climate regime.
Managing this deepening complexity in a highly sensitive – and largely transparent – political environment has become an extraordinary feat, undertaken by a UNFCCC Secretariat that continues to impress participants with a combination of professionalism, competence and good humor. The UN Secretary-General’s decision to adopt climate change as one of his own UN system-wide priorities, with a more effective division of labor and lines of accountability on climate-related issues throughout the UN system, will shore up the resources required for the future. A greater emphasis on the need to draw on expertise found outside the immediate UNFCCC process was also a notable and timely feature of discussions in Bali.
Nevertheless, the challenge of defining precisely what elements of the Bali decisions and outcomes constitute the “Bali roadmap” is its own complex work in progress. For example, what exactly is the nature of the agreement that must result from the Bali roadmap? This is still a matter of debate, with divergent views on the legal form or architecture that will accommodate and, perhaps elaborate, existing commitments under the Convention and the Protocol in the near term and after 2012. So, while the Bali roadmap was never categorically defined, most are viewing it as a compendium of decisions and processes adopted and launched by the COP and COP/MOP, which can be divided into three types:
·       Negotiating tracks;

·       Building blocks; and

·       Supporting activities, including reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
NEGOTIATING TRACKS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Bali roadmap builds on the negotiating tracks on long-term issues launched at the Montreal Climate Change Conference at the end of 2005. In addition to the legal necessity to address the post-2012 period after the Protocol’s first commitment period expires, the Bali roadmap aims to mend some of the fractures that have evolved in the architecture of the climate change regime, most notably the refusal of the United States to ratify the Protocol. The institutionalization of tensions between developed and developing country parties,   the crisis of confidence surrounding the implementation of existing commitments, and a growing need for the distribution of responsibilities to reflect the economic power and responsibilities of major emerging economies, have also haunted the process. The Bali roadmap must continue to provide a means to re-engage the United States in negotiations on future commitments, with some level of comparability with other developed country undertakings; it must develop innovative mechanisms and incentives for the engagement of the major emerging economies; and it will be judged, above all, by the extent to which it addresses the ultimate objective of the Convention – to put the world on a path to avoid dangerous climate change – by responding, without equivocation, to the IPCC’s findings.
At the heart of the Bali roadmap are the negotiating tracks to be pursued under the newly launched Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action and the existing Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Protocol. The work of each track will be important, but – in all probability – it is the convergence of views, with each track taking the work of the other on board, that will inform deliberations on the ambition and the means for all to contribute to a future agreement or agreements.
One indication of the likely contents of the roadmap came early on in Bali in an intervention by COP President Witoelar during the Contact Group on Long-term Cooperative Action. He explained that the roadmap has a track for negotiations under the Convention, with a milestone in 2008, and a destination in 2009. The centerpiece of this track is the decision on the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, which for the first time sets out a negotiating agenda that encompasses discussions on mitigation for both developing and developed countries. Since the negotiations will take place under the Convention, they will include all parties – developing countries and the US. However, there is some question as to the nature of the mandate for this track, other than a reference to the ultimate objective of the Convention. Some have contrasted the work of this AWG with the stronger mandate built into the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Berlin Mandate, which resulted in the Kyoto Protocol. “We may have to return to the COP to clarify and strengthen the mandate; for the moment we have taken a leap of faith,” said one observer, hoping that the work would result in a binding agreement.
On the Protocol track is the work programme, methods and schedule of future sessions of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Protocol. Important aspects of the work of the AWG will be taken on board and feed into the second review of the Protocol under Article 9 at COP/MOP 4.
One of the most significant developments in Bali was a shift that the Executive Secretary likened to the “dismantling of the Berlin Wall.” While a “two-track” approach will continue and maintain a degree of separation between discussions under the Convention and the Protocol, the decision on the AWG on Long-Term Cooperative Action uses for the first time language on “developed” and “developing” countries, rather than “Annex I” and “non-Annex I” countries. This is widely regarded as a breakthrough, as it offers the prospect of moving beyond the constraints of working within only Annex I and non-Annex I countries when defining future contributions to a future agreement. It is anticipated that new approaches to differentiating contributions, tied to countries’ economic capacity, will form part of the future architecture. Moreover, the new AWG will also fully engage and address the future role of the US, which has not ratified the Protocol.
The risk in all of this, identified by some developing country parties, is that certain Annex I parties may seize on this development to “jump ship” and attempt to adopt more relaxed commitments than those under the Kyoto Protocol. This led to proposals for a “firewall” that would lock existing Annex I parties into the most ambitious end of the commitment spectrum.
BUILDING BLOCKS
Integral to the emerging and no doubt cross-fertilizing work programmes across the negotiating tracks are the so-called “building blocks” of mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. These key issues were considered both under the roadmap negotiations and in related talks on topics such as the Adaptation Fund.
With evidence that the confidence-building phase of negotiations has begun to yield some results in terms of the re-engagement of the US and engagement of major developing country economies, the Bali Conference was regarded by some, notably the EU and major NGOs, as the moment to lock the process into evidence-based negotiations on mitigation and commitments. The timing and ambition of the EU’s agenda was not unexpected and contributed to some of the fiercest exchanges between negotiators.
MITIGATION: The debate on mitigation, notably the terms of engagement by developing countries, in the context of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, was not resolved until the COP plenary on Saturday. Under the gaze of unprecedented media attention, India turned the final hours of negotiations into something approaching a Bollywood Blockbuster, with star-studded cameo roles by none other than the UN Secretary-General and the President of Indonesia, calling on parties to close a deal. Up until Saturday afternoon, the prospect of a collapse of the negotiations was not ruled out by senior participants.
In a defining moment of the Conference, at the final and dramatic COP plenary session, the US stood down from its opposition to a proposal by India, supported by the G-77/China. The Indian proposal aimed to ensure that mitigation actions by developing country parties are supported by technology, financing and capacity building, subject to measurable, reportable and verifiable procedures. This new paragraph has far-reaching implications for linking developing country participation in a future agreement and confidence that they will access the means to deliver. Fired by a suspicion that developed countries had set up future negotiations that might relax their own commitments, while placing too much onus on developing country contributions, India deftly seized the momentum for the closure of a deal on the roadmap, in the full gaze of the world’s media, to introduce a new rigor to the delivery of developed country commitments on capacity building. Introducing this outstanding debate into the final COP plenary on Saturday was just one of the high-risk strategies deployed to press for closure on issues that had played out for days behind closed doors. In the end, after phone calls reportedly involving Washington, the US delegation dropped its opposition to the Indian proposal, stung by rebuffs from South Africa and Papua New Guinea and lengthy applause from delegates and observers who favored the proposal.
The mitigation debate was also behind contested approaches to referencing the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. This battle was fought on two fronts: under the Protocol and under the Convention. In the AWG under the Protocol, Russia, Canada, and Japan lined up to oppose a reference to the 25-40% greenhouse gas emissions reduction range in the AWG’s report from Vienna, which included this and other quotes from the IPCC AR4. Noting that media coverage was feeding public expectations that countries were “going to agree” to reductions in this range and that “we have to be careful about presenting the range as the target,” the Russian Federation continued its opposition all the way to the AWG closing plenary. Canada and Japan, which had argued in the informal consultations that Russia should be heeded, changed their position after a concerted campaign by AOSIS to insert a comprehensive reference to the IPCC AR4.
There was less success on the Convention front in the Dialogue on Cooperative Action, where the reference to the IPCC science is weaker. AOSIS was unable to summon up the support for a stronger reference when negotiators met in a small informal group to close on this issue. Participants believe that this will be a weaker starting point for negotiations on cooperative action under the Convention, and the IPCC references may have to be revisited.
ADAPTATION AND FINANCE: One of the significant outcomes bringing together both adaptation and finance was the decision to operationalize the Adaptation Fund, which was set up to finance adaptation in developing countries. The Fund had proven to be particularly delicate to negotiate because, unlike other funds under the UNFCCC, it is funded through a levy on CDM projects undertaken in developing countries and is therefore not dependent on donors. At past meetings, proposals to appoint the GEF as the Fund’s manager have generated controversies between developed and developing countries, and an agreement on the Adaptation Fund Board, operating under the guidance of the COP/MOP, was a significant breakthrough. However, the early stages of the Conference were marked by intensive lobbying by representatives from the GEF who were determined to secure a role in servicing the Fund. In the end, they secured an interim role in providing a secretariat function.
The establishment of the Adaptation Fund was widely applauded. It was also seen as one of several positive outcomes for the G-77/China at this meeting, which some observers note are a reflection of the increasing economic and political clout of this group.
TECHNOLOGY: The basis for an interim funding programme under the GEF was brokered behind the scenes early in the Conference, although agreement on the final details was complicated. Technology funding is expected to be scaled up when a comprehensive agreement on future commitments is reached, possibly in Copenhagen. Governments agreed to kick start a strategic programme to scale up investment in the transfer of both the mitigation and adaptation technologies needed by developing countries. Again, the outcome was widely viewed as a positive one for developing countries.
SUPPORTING ACTIVITIES – REDUCING EMISSIONS FROM DEFORESTATION                                                                                                                                       A decision on reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries is as significant for the wider deforestation debate as it is for the climate regime. As one observer put it, the deforestation issue has suffered from a level of fragmentation and now, perhaps for the first time, may ultimately be brought under a legally binding framework.
There was an agreement to launch a process for understanding the challenges ahead, including through demonstration activities over the next two years, in preparation for addressing these issues in a post-2012 agreement.
A problematic part of this debate was how to include the issue in the post-2012 regime. The US supported a reference to “land use” in the decision on reducing emissions from deforestation, alarming some observers as it recalled broader discussions of land use that included not only forestry but also agriculture and other forms of land management. There was, however, agreement to open up options in future discussions on long-term cooperative action by including in the decision an explicit reference to reduced emissions from deforestation “and consideration of … the role of conservation, sustainable management of forest and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.”
MOVING FORWARD
The Bali Conference demonstrated that at certain moments in climate talks, notably when negotiations are taking place in the full gaze of a public and media who are better informed than at any time since the emergence of the climate change agenda, parties come under extreme pressure to face up to the science. The high-level political attention given to climate change has introduced an unprecedented level of interest and investment of expertise by organizations, not only by research and advocacy organizations, but also by the media. The number of side events held in parallel to the conference was also unprecedented, and included two full day events during the weekend: the Climate and Development Days, and the Forest Day.
A youth delegate told the COP plenary, “You can’t negotiate with physics and chemistry.” This, of course, is not entirely true. Parties do disagree with the science, but their arguments can sometimes change when they are exposed to the critical gaze of global public opinion. A feature of the Bali Conference was the shift in a number of positions when negotiators left the closed-door ministerials and returned to the plenary sessions, as illustrated by the pressure that came to bear on the US and Canada in the final COP plenary. Transparency can be a decisive factor.
At COP/MOP 3, the interplay between international climate politics and domestic elections was illustrated by the dramatic win by Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party in Australia. In 2008, another domestic election may have a dramatic impact on the global climate change regime, whatever the outcome. The global public gaze that fixed on the COP plenary in Bali will now turn to the US election in November 2008.
In the meantime, parties to the Convention and the Protocol have succeeded in honoring the call for a “breakthrough” that came from the UN Secretary-General’s climate change summit in September. Bali launched far reaching negotiations with a clear deadline for the conclusion of an agreement on the post-2012 period. Bali was successful in delivering the expected roadmap and building blocks. Now it is up to everyone, negotiators, politicians, public opinion and media to play their respective parts – progress in negotiations, take action, keep up the pressure, and maintain vigilance – to make sure the road from Bali doesn’t end up in the sea.

On Saturday evening, December 15, 2007, as the remaining participants at the BICC rushed to catch their flights home or scattered to Ubud or elsewhere to recover, the ENB writing team began work on our twenty thousand-word summary and analysis. The PDF version can be found at www.iisd.ca/download/pdf/enb12354… and for easy cut-and-paste (“Yes, we know you do!!!” – writes KIMO) go to www.iisd.ca/vol12/enb12354e.html

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See Also:

Klimawende für die Zeit nach Bush.
Eric Frey, www.der Standard.at, December 16, 2007.

Der Kompromiss von Bali hat einen Kurswechsel der USA bereits vorweggenommen.
Es war zu erwarten, dass europäische Politiker und Kommentatoren das Ergebnis von Bali als faulen Kompromiss und Rückschlag für den Klimaschutz abkanzeln würden. Tatsächlich wurde in Bali weniger beschlossen als von den EU-Staaten gefordert, vor allem keine Verpflichtung auf konkrete Ziele für die Reduktion der Treibhausgase.

Für all jene, die überzeugt sind, dass die Erde in kurzer Zeit auf einen Klimakollaps zusteuert, war Bali sicher ein Debakel. Aber wenn die schlimmsten Prognosen tatsächlich zutreffen, dann ist auch alles, was Europa tut, viel zu wenig, dann hätte selbst ein besseres Ergebnis aus Bali die Welt nicht retten können.

Geht man – wie viele andere Forscher – von einem etwas weniger dramatischen Szenario aus, dann hat der Klimagipfel hingegen deutliche Fortschritte gebracht. Erstmals haben sich Japan und Russland zu einer dramatischen Reduktion der CO2-Emissionen verpflichtet. Die Verantwortung der großen Schwellenländer wurde genauer definiert, und nach der Kehrtwende in Australien, wo die neue Linksregierung dem Kioto-Protokoll beigetreten ist, besteht die Ablehnungsfront unter den Industriestaaten nur noch aus den USA und Kanada.

Und gerade bei den USA hat Bali den schleichenden Sinneswandel deutlich gemacht. Zwar erwies sich die amerikanische Chefverhandlerin Paula Dobriansky als Hauptblockiererin und zwang die Konferenz in eine Verlängerung. Aber ihre überraschende Zustimmung zu einem Kompromissergebnis in letzter Minute eröffnet nun die Chance, dass innerhalb von zwei Jahren ein ernsthaftes Klimaschutzabkommen zustande kommt, an dem – anders als am Kioto-Protokoll – alle großen Staaten beteiligt sind.

Zwar werden die USA zunächst über das Kioto-Nachfolgeabkommen nicht mitverhandeln. In der entscheidenden Phase aber wird George W. Bush nicht mehr Präsident sein. Sollte im Jänner 2009 ein Demokrat ins Weiße Haus einziehen, dann könnten sich die USA sehr schnell den Verhandlungen über konkrete Treibhausgasreduktionen anschließen. Selbst die führenden republikanischen Kandidaten sind in dieser Frage nicht so stur wie Bush. Die öffentliche Meinung in den USA_fordert lautstark einen Kurswechsel: Die Mehrheit der Amerikaner, bedeutende Unternehmen und wichtige Bundesstaaten wie Kalifornien unterstützen eine Klimapolitik nach europäischem Muster. Die nachträgliche Distanzierung des Weißen Hauses vom Bali-Ergebnis spielt hier keine Rolle: Der Fahrplan ist entschieden, der Zug rollt, und es stellt sich nur noch die Frage, wer auf ihn aufspringt.

Mit ihrer Sorge über den geringen Beitrag der Entwicklungsländer zum Klimaschutz haben die Amerikaner einen wunden Punkt aller Verhandlungen angesprochen, für den sie allerdings mitverantwortlich sind. Es stimmt, dass China und Indien mehr gegen den Anstieg ihrer CO2-Emissionen unternehmen müssen und Maßnahmen nicht auf den fernen Tag verschieben dürfen, an dem sie sich westlichen Lebensstandards angenähert haben. Eine solche Vorgangsweise wäre für alle fatal, und am meisten für die armen Länder.

Aber der Süden wird den Klimaschutz erst dann ernst nehmen, wenn die größeren Klimasünder im Norden mit gutem Beispiel vorangehen. Eine US-Regierung, die dem Energieverbrauch zuhause entschlossen entgegentritt, hätte ganz andere Möglichkeiten auf China und Indien einzuwirken als die Bush-Partie.

Gewonnen haben diese Länder in Bali die Aussicht auf finanzielle Hilfe beim Klimaschutz. Diese kann etwa von Österreich kommen, wenn es wie erwartet sein Kioto-Ziel verfehlt und dann Bußgelder in internationale Töpfe einzahlen muss.

Der kleine Schritt von Bali könnte sich so als Wegbereiter für größere Schritte ab 2010 erweisen – vor allem dann, wenn die Forschung mit Alarmmeldungen weiterhin Weltöffentlichkeit und Politik sensibilisiert. Doch gerade in diesem Fall ist zu befürchten, dass das Schneckentempo der Diplomatie mit dem Klimawandel nicht Schritt halten kann. (Eric Frey/DER STANDARD, Printausgabe, 17.12.2007)

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