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The UN climate conference in Poznan was meant to be a key milestone between the start of negotiations in Bali last year and their conclusion at Copenhagen next year. But it has exposed a shameful lack of progress. By Poznan, developed nations (the 41 Annex 1 parties, including New Zealand, as categorised by the UN) were meant to have submitted proposals on emissions reductions, finance and technology; they have failed to do so.
In contrast, many of the developing countries came to Poznan with clear proposals, a willingness to show flexibility, and, in the case of countries such as South Africa, Mexico and China, national action plans to reduce climate emissions.
An ambitious deal in Copenhagen is still possible, and is needed more than ever, but it will need far more rapid progress than over the past year. Specifically, it will need Annex 1 countries to come to the negotiations early in 2009 with far more political will and flexibility in negotiations.
The following provides an overview of the Poznan negotiations and what is needed to reach Copenhagen with the required preparation and political will.
Setting the long term goal:
- There was no agreement on a long term goal to avoid dangerous impacts of climate change…new scientific evidence shows an ambitious goal will be needed to avoid massive suffering.
- Tuvalu and other small island nations called for urgent action and a goal of below 1.5°C.
- The lack of proposals for intermediate emission reduction targets from Annex 1 countries meant that no agreement was possible.
- A deal in Copenhagen will need a goal to keep global warming well below 2°C…strong and ambitious proposals on the goal need be put forward as soon as possible.
- Targets for emissions reductions were not agreed…Instead of proposals, Annex 1 countries arrived pleading for their special circumstances.
- They tried to shift the blame through calling for cuts by developing countries.
- The IPCC has called for Annex 1 countries to make cuts of 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020; this should have been agreed in Poznan.
- A deal in Copenhagen will need proposals by February and then urgent negotiations.
- At last, over a decade after negotiations started, an Adaptation Fund, to deliver on developing country needs, has been given the go ahead…This is an important step: it allows direct access by the most vulnerable countries.
- The negotiations were bitter and contributed to a loss of trust between countries, but Annex 1 countries finally compromised and met G77 key demands.
- Annex 1 countries refused to agree to increased adaptation funding through new mechanisms, such as auctioning of emissions permits (AAUs).
- Voluntary contributions of funds by Sweden and other countries are welcome, but no substitute for a funding mechanism that would provide a predictable and obligatory source of funds that are additional to aid budgets.
- A deal in Copenhagen will need agreement on massively scaled up funding for adaptation.
- The funding needs to be delivered through mechanisms under the UNFCCC (such as the Adaptation Fund), with transparency, democratic accountability and civil society involvement.
- There was no progress towards developing and sharing clean technology…Developing countries submitted new proposals in August 2008, but there has still been no constructive response from developed nations.
- A deal in Copenhagen will need proposals from Annex 1 countries by February to help developing countries to move towards a low carbon development path
Finance for mitigation:
- There was no progress on a financial mechanism to support mitigation in developing countries…Annex 1 countries did not respond constructively to proposals made by developing countries
- A deal in Copenhagen needs Annex 1 countries to make ambitious proposals by February
- Negotiations on avoided deforestation were held but are causing deep concern…Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US opposed provisions to protect indigenous peoples’ rights
- A deal in Copenhagen will need major changes to the draft agreement on deforestation…The agreement will need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, local people and communities, protect biodiversity and address the causes of deforestation
The road from Poznan to Copenhagen:
- Progress has been slow over the past year and little has been achieved in Poznan…The work programme calls for proposals in February and a negotiating document by June.
- Heads of State will meet in September at the opening of the UN General Assembly
- A deal in Copenhagen will need a step change in the level of urgency and political commitment
- The role of the UN Secretary-General will be crucial, working with Heads of State who are committed to an ambitious agreement, including vulnerable countries
- If there is not significant convergence in positions by March, there will need to be a Conference of the Parties around mid year, in order to finally agree the political mandate
- Annex 1 countries must change their approach to negotiations to accept their responsibilities to move first and furthest and support efforts by developing countries
- The aim must be to agree a full negotiated text, not merely a political declaration