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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 3rd, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

The Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain, Climate Change Talks opened on Monday morning and the welcoming ceremony included José Montilla Aguilera, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, who stressed that local and regional governments, not just states, desire to participate in, and contribute to, actions to address climate change. He said the Government of Catalunya has turned the fight against climate change into a main pillar of action, including through its renewable energy and sustainable transportation policies.

WELCOMING CEREMONY was opened by Yvo de Boer, the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

Núria Marín Martinez, Mayor of L’Hospitalet, highlighted the role that local authorities can play in addressing climate change, drawing attention to commitments under the Covenant of Mayors against Climate Change.

Jordi Hereu, Mayor of Barcelona, stressed the need to connect local and regional policies and actions to effectively address climate change and called for inclusion of reference to local authorities in a climate change agreement.

Connie Hedegaard, Minister of Climate and Energy, Denmark, emphasized that the Barcelona session is paramount for success in Copenhagen where a coherent and ambitious solution is required to address the challenge of climate change. She highlighted “in-depth, frank and constructive discussions” during a recent meeting under the Greenland Dialogue on finance and mitigation, encouraging delegates to emulate this constructive spirit in Barcelona. She acknowledged the difficulty of getting binding agreement on all of the building blocks under the Bali Action Plan (BAP), pointing to further work required, and called on delegates to “walk the last mile to Copenhagen.”

María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, Vice-President of Spain, underscored the need to respond to climate change and highlighted the consequences of slowing down actions. Drawing attention to the window of opportunity to push forward a new green economy as a consequence of the global economic crisis, she said renewable energy would be one of the priorities of her country’s Presidency of the European Union (EU) in 2010. She also said €100 million of financing would be provided by Spain by 2012.

José Montilla Aguilera, President of the Generalitat de Catalunya, stressed that local and regional governments, not just states, desire to participate in, and contribute to, actions to address climate change. He said the Government of Catalunya has turned the fight against climate change into a main pillar of action, including through its renewable energy and sustainable transportation policies.

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As reported by the Earth Negotiations bulletin IN THE CORRIDORS mail.google.com/mail/#inbox/124b7… :

As delegates filled the vast halls of the Fira de Gran Via on Monday to begin the final week of negotiations before Copenhagen, many felt as if they had just left the previous round of discussions in Bangkok. As one delegate put it, the three-week intersessional period seemed like “a long working weekend.”

Expectations of progress in Barcelona, as well as in Copenhagen, varied. While many seemed resigned to the fact that a lot of work would have to be pushed beyond Copenhagen, others were angry at what they saw as attempts to lower expectations and the level of ambition.

Mixed feelings were also expressed on how the work should proceed in Barcelona. While many delegates expressed hope that meetings would go straight to informals to finally begin “real negotiations” and facilitate development of text and clear options for Copenhagen, some delegates continued to highlight the need for contact groups. One stressed that “a Copenhagen agreement needs to be developed in the light of day.” This sentiment was shared by some NGO representatives: “If they spend the meeting in informals from Tuesday onwards, I will have nothing to do for the rest of the week,” commented one.


In the afternoon, many delegates found their schedule to be much lighter than expected: suspension of the contact groups and informal consultations scheduled under the AWG-KP at the request of the African Group took many developed and developing countries by surprise.

Sudan, for the G-77/CHINA, expressed concern about calls by Annex I parties to end the Kyoto Protocol in favor of a single agreement in Copenhagen. He highlighted the need to make progress in defining Annex I parties’ individual and aggregate quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs).

Sweden, for the EU, stressed that a new agreement should build on the Kyoto Protocol. He reiterated the EU’s willingness to reduce emissions by 30% from 1990 levels by 2020 as part of a global agreement, provided other countries take comparable commitments. He noted support expressed by the EU leaders for 80-95% emission reductions by 2050 from 1990 levels, and called on other developed countries to adopt the same goal.

The Gambia, for the AFRICAN GROUP,  said the Group would not accept scheduling of other contact group meetings until the work on “numbers” is completed.

Sudan, for the G-77/CHINA, expressed concern about calls by Annex I parties to end the Kyoto Protocol in favor of a single agreement in Copenhagen. He highlighted the need to make progress in defining Annex I parties’ individual and aggregate quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs)

According to rumors circulating in the corridors, informal consultations held in the afternoon did not resolve the issue. Reactions to this development were mixed. According to a developing country delegate, the cancellation of informal groups should not have been necessary and was not a good start to the meeting.

Many developed country delegates in particular saw the move as a “poor tactic” and speculated on motivations behind it. Others, however, supported the position, calling it “necessary and quite timely,” and a developing country delegate said, “this demonstrates that if no agreement is reached in Copenhagen, it is because Annex I countries have refused to make necessary commitments.”

One veteran commented: “I thought I knew this process, but this just shows that unexpected things can happen – I hope this also applies to unexpectedly good progress in Copenhagen.”
and from Tiempo www.tiempocyberclimate.org/newswa… :

Meeting to discuss their position at the at the climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen in December, African negotiators have declared that they will not accept a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, nor will they accept the merging of the Protocol into a new pact. They are calling for the Kyoto Protocol to be extended to cover a second and further commitment periods.

The African negotiators want see a separate legal instrument stemming from the Bali Action Plan: “a fair, inclusive, effective and equitable new agreement… that will benefit the climate and vulnerable countries and that will be undertaken in the context of poverty eradication, sustainable development and the need for gender equity.” Compensation is sought from the industrialized nations, who are held responsible for the climate problem, in the form of new, sustained and scaled-up finance required for adaptation and risk management. Speaking recently at a Nigerian government inter-ministerial conference in Abuja, Peter Tarfa from the Federal Ministry of the Environment said that “developing countries are seeking between US$200 billion and US$400 billion [a year] as compensation.”

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