COP-17 First Week Results

5 December 2011 --- I can no longer get online with my computer, so I cannot upload more details to my website as before. You can still access previous uploads of my blog with photos <>. So I will put it all in an email with a Summary first followed by more explanation.
My summary: a few agreements are finalized on minor issues, and much negotiating work has been done. But there doesn’t seem to be much progress on the major issues. Everyone awaits the results of the high level meetings with Ministers this week. Today’s detail includes an explanation of the structure and function of each part of the UNFCCC, and some of the minor agreements completed.

4 December 2011 --- It is now midnight on Saturday night that finishes the first week, so it is a marathon night which will go until the work is done. The first week involves decisions on technical, organizational, and financial issues, as well as preliminary negotiations on political issues. More detail later today on what came out of the first week. The second week is the high level negotiations at the ministerial level. Some heads of state will be here.

COP-17 Structure and Function

The Players
UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) established at the first Rio Summit, also referred to as the “Convention” which functions under the Secretariat.
COP-17: 17th Conference of the Parties (countries), which began in 1995
KP: Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 which outlines the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission obligations for developed countries and those in transition, all of which ratified except the U.S.
Annex I Parties: Developed countries
CMP-7: Meeting of the Parties to the KP began in 2004.
SBI-35: Subsidiary Body for Implementation also meets between COPs to continue the work throughout the year.
SBSTA-35: Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice
AWG-KP-16: Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the KP
AWG-LCA-14: Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action established in 2007 to enable sustained implementation of the Convention up to and beyond 2012.
CDM: Clean Development Mechanism established with the KP to assist developing countries in “achieving sustainable development”.
AF: Adaptation Fund established in 2001 to assist developing countries, especially the Least Developed Countries and the Small Island States, with adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change, but was not operationalized until this year.
GCF: Green Climate Fund was established at COP-16 in Cancun as a multi-lateral funding source for developing countries because all previous climate change funding was bilateral where a particular developed country supports a project in a developing country.
CGE: Consultative Group of Experts is assembled to assist the Least Developed Countries in developing their national communications.
GEF: Global Environmental Facility is involved with much of the funding related to the Convention.
Groups of Parties:
            AOSIS --- Alliance of Small Island States (although Belize is not an island, there is a relationship to this group.
G77 and China --- Includes most of the developing countries
Least Developed Countries (LDC)
            European Union (EU) --- 27 countries
Umbrella Group --- The rest of the developed countries except the EU: U.S., Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Norway, Ukraine and Kazakhstan
            BASIC --- Brazil, South African, India, China
            Pan-Africa Group­ --- African countries except South Africa
            SICA --- Secretariat Integration Central America, Belize is included and El Salvador reported for SICA.
            Land-locked Developing Countries --- Paraguay reported for them today.
            Mountain Countries --- are especially vulnerable to climate change as their water supply was dependent upon glacier melt, as glaciers receded, these forested areas are becoming desert.
Functions and First Week Results
Saturday ended the first week, which is composed of organizational, technical, and financial issues, as well as preliminary negotiations on the legal framework for the continuation of the KP. The SBI and SBSTA closed their work. I followed the SBI, specifically Adaption. There was agreement on a way forward to determine methodology for addressing loss and damage through expert and regional meetings. There was no agreement on the text for National Adaptation Plans, a program where a Consultative Group of Experts is to help the Least Developed Countries to develop plans for adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change. But the facilitators believe that agreement is possible at this COP-17 so this and a couple other matters were presented to the President of the COP-17 for more work this second week.
SBI-35 manages the finances and infrastructure under which the work of the Secretariat is done. Progress on construction of facilities and increased efficiency in finances were reported.
SBI-35 compiles and reviews the Fifth National Communications and GHG Inventories from Annex I Parties (countries). This review was not completed because not all countries had completed their communications, so these agenda items were continued to the 36th session. The U.S. was among those that did not complete theirs.
SBI-35 compiles and reviews the Fifth National Communications from Parties not included in Annex I (developing countries). It was decided to continue the work of the CGE conducting training to assist developing countries in assessing their GHG emissions through 2012.
SBI-35 facilitated agreement on the way forward on loss and damage as a result of adverse effects of climate change. A series of expert and regional sessions are planned to determine methodology, data requirements, and gaps, in addressing specific types of loss and damage. An in-session workshop is planned for SBI-36 to enhance understanding of terminology, concepts and ways to assess and address loss and damage from the effects of climate change. Submissions are invited from Parties and the Secretariat is asked to compile them for consideration at the SBI-37. Parties are asked to provide financial and technical support for the implementation of the work programme.
SBI-35 discussed the appeals to decisions of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism. An issue with the CDM is whether carbon capture and storage (CCS) is allowed as a clean development mechanism. The SBSTA finalized an agreement to study CCS as an allowable CDM, despite the fact that most CCS projects worldwide have been cancelled.
SBI-35 estimated the budgetary implications of the decisions made, which would add a total of 3 million Euros to the Secretariat budget and encouraged Parties to contribute additional funds.
SBSTA  had agreements on technology transfer, emissions from shipping and aviation (a new issue – more detail), reforestation, and other technical issues.
These are some of the minor agreements. I will cover the major issue tomorrow.



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