Time is the enemy now as negotiators scramble to get a deal done. While many ministers from developed countries have not left the negotiations, there are developing country delegates who can’t afford to change flights to be at the talks. This adds to the list of handicaps developing countries have in these negotiations and there’s a tradeoff between no deal and a bad one looming around the corner.
Why was COP17 pushed to another day? A last minute push came after yesterday’s 6pm Indaba meeting where a new “Big Picture” text was proposed by the COP President. Parties broadly agreed that the text’s roadmap to a future legal agreement (post 2020) was not enough and that more ambition was needed. So, the South African Presidency went back to the drawing board and returned with a new text with higher levels of ambitions.
This includes a Kyoto Protocol text containing a five year commitment from countries (2013-2017) to meet emission targets. And an LCA text that does not include a bunker fuel levy nor does it include any substantive text implementing mitigation actions. However, it does include a new process for addressing climate change and agriculture.
Looking through the text, I read through the potential outcome of LULUCF– the subject I have been following this semester. The option included in the draft text continues emissions loopholes– while it adds forest management to the land-based activities as mandatory (which can help or hurt countries) and adds wetlands management to the list of ‘voluntary’ accounting activities, there is no action taken on closing loopholes. Instead, there is a call for investigating a move to a more holistic accounting approach, but nothing else.
Everyone’s watching closely, but it’s difficult to sort out rumors from truth at this point in the game. We might go to Day 14, but let’s hope that extra time allows for some positive outcomes on climate change on African soil.