Doha Climate Conference Takes Modest Step Towards Global Climate Deal In 2015


The European Union said Saturday it welcomed the outcome of the Doha climate conference, which lays the basis for more ambitious international action against climate change in the short term, paves the way for a new global climate agreement to be finalized in 2015 and enables a second period of the Kyoto Protocol to start on 1 January 2013.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said, “In Doha, we have crossed the bridge from the old climate regime to the new system. We are now on our way to the 2015 global deal. It was not an easy and comfortable ride. It was not a very fast ride either. But we have managed to cross the bridge. Very intense negotiations lie ahead of us. What we need now is more ambition and more speed.”

Sofoclis Aletraris, Cypriot Minister for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, whose country currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, added, “This package of decisions provides a solid basis for increasing the ambition level of global emissions action by 2015. The EU will work with our partners to make the most of this opportunity. We came to Doha keen to hear concrete proposals from developing countries for addressing loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change, and we welcome the agreement here to establish institutional arrangements for this issue next year.”

Durban Platform for Enhanced Action

As requested by the EU, the conference agreed a workplan for 2013 and beyond under the Durban Platform. The Platform has a dual mandate: to draw up a new global climate agreement with all countries, to be adopted in 2015, and to identify ways to achieve more ambitious global emission reductions for 2020 in order to close the gap between current emission pledges and what is needed to hold global warming below 2°C.

The workplan agreed in Doha sets out a schedule of events and suggests themes to be addressed under both workstreams. The intention of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to convene a summit of world leaders on climate change in 2014 will give added political momentum to this work, said the EU.

Streamlining negotiations

The international climate negotiations process was streamlined through the successful closure of the parallel working groups on the Kyoto Protocol and on long-term cooperative action under the UN climate convention.

The Durban Platform will thus be the sole negotiating forum for the 2015 agreement.

Climate finance

The EU is the world’s leading provider of official development assistance and climate finance to developing countries. In Doha the EU has demonstrated that it is on track to provide the full €7.2 billion it has pledged in ‘fast start’ finance for the period 2010-12 and has assured its developing country partners that climate finance will continue after this year.

Several EU Member States and other developed countries announced specific finance pledges for 2013 and in some cases up to 2015. A package of decisions on finance encourages developed countries to keep climate finance in 2013-15 to at least the average level of their fast start finance.

The decisions also extend a work program on long-term finance for a year, with the aim of helping developed countries identify pathways for scaling up climate finance to US $100 billion per year by 2020 from public, private and alternative sources in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparent implementation by developing countries.

Loss and damage associated with climate change

Doha addressed a key concern of developing countries by agreeing to establish institutional arrangements, such as an international mechanism, to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in particularly vulnerable developing countries.

The arrangements will be established at the UN climate conference to be held at the end of next year in Warsaw.

Kyoto Protocol

The balanced Doha outcome enabled the EU to confirm its commitment to participate in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol starting on 1 January 2013. The conference adopted a ratifiable amendment setting out the rules governing the second period. It will run for eight years, thus ensuring no gap occurs between its end and the entry into force of the new global agreement in 2020. The EU will apply the amendment from 1 January 2013 even though formal ratification by the European institutions and Member States is likely to take over a year.

For the second period the EU has taken on an emissions reduction commitment in line with its domestic target of cutting emissions by 20% of 1990 levels by 2020, but has left the door open to stepping up this reduction to 30% if the conditions are right. The reduction commitment will be fulfilled jointly by the EU and its Member States, Croatia and Iceland. The targets of all countries participating in the second period will be revisited by 2014 with a view to considering raising ambition.

The EU and other countries taking on targets under the second period will have continued access to the Kyoto mechanisms from the start of the period. A limit on purchases of surplus emission budgets (‘AAUs’) from the first commitment period will apply. Moreover, the decision includes political declarations by EU and its Member States and all other potential buyers – Australia, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland – stating that they will not purchase AAUs carried over from the first period.

The second period forms part of the transition to the global agreement taking effect in 2020. Including the EU, the countries taking part in the second Kyoto period account only for around 14% of world emissions. This underscores the need for the future climate regime to involve action by all countries.

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