Thursday 2 December 2010

AOSIS proposals receive overwhelming support at Cancun talks

Ambassador Williams

By Makereta Komai, Climate Pasifika Media Team in Cancun

02 DECEMBER 2010 CANCUN, MEXICO ---- Overwhelming support at the Cancun talks for two proposals by the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS).

Led by Grenada and Tuvalu, the AOSIS group was given the green light for its proposals to set up two separate contact groups to discuss a legal form to the new agreement likely to be in place by 2011 and resolving a gap that will be created after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada said the small and vulnerable countries that make up AOSIS want a ‘space’ to freely discuss the architecture and legal form of a new legally binding agreement to be formalized in Durban, South Africa in 2011.

All members of the Pacific Islands Forum, except Australia and New Zealand are members of the AOSIS. It’s one of the recognised negotiating groups at the UN climate change talks.

“These have always been considered in open-ended negotiating forums - open to all Parties and observers. This was the case in Kyoto, for example, for the consideration of the proposed Kyoto Protocol.

“It is not efficient, nor useful, to consider the proposals in a plenary meeting of the COP and as with other items on the COP Agenda, the proposal requires its own separate discussion, said Ambassador Williams.

Despite opposition from India, China and Saudi Arabia the President of COP16 ruled in favour of the proposal, to a rousing applause from delegates and observers.

India and China reminded the chair of the limited time for negotiations here in Cancun and not allow the AOSIS proposal to side track the process. They argued that the new agreement and its legal form are already part of the negotiations in the two Ad Hoc Working Groups on long term co-operative action (LCA) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP).

Both AOSIS and Tuvalu had submitted similar proposals to the climate change Secretariat last year under Article 17 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Tuvalu chief negotiator, Ian Fry said it had been an 18 months wait for the proposal t come before the Conference of Parties.

“We support the AOSIS proposal that a contact group be established to explore means to reach an agreement in South Africa, said Fry.

Ambassador Williams said despite the multitude of meetings that have been taken place in recent years, “we do not have an effective, visible and lasting place for discussions on architectural proposals or on legal form.”

“Legal form is important as it provides certainty to the outside world – the governments, the markets, the private sector that we are trying to get involved in this process – all of them need legal certainty to effectively contribute to this process and to make the investments needed.

This is not the first time that AOSIS has taken such a leadership role.

“The Secretariat’s records will show that AOSIS tabled the first draft of the Kyoto Protocol, well in advance of its final adoption”, said Ambassador Williams.

“In that regard, AOSIS would call for creation of an open-ended contact group to consider proposals related to this agenda item, to be conducted under the direct guidance and facilitation of the COP Presidency.

COP President, Patricia Espinosa after consulting with her advisers approved the setting up of the contact groups, warning however that the work of this new contact group will not hinder the current negotiations in the LCA and KP processes.

“This will allow more dialogue and better understanding between Parties before a final agreement is ready, said Espinosa.

Japan opposes extension of Kyoto Protocol

Hideki Minamikawa, Minister for Global Environmnet Affairs of Japan

"It's shocking that at a time when the whole world is seeking to strengthen the climate regime Japan wants to kill the treaty that bears its name" -  Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Change Advisor, Christian Aid. 

By Makereta Komai, Climate Pasifika Media Team in Cancun, Mexico

01 DECEMBER 2010, CANCUN, MEXICO --- Japan says it will oppose any extension to the Kyoto Protocol (KP), the only legally binding global agreement on climate change.

And its chief negotiator here in Cancun, the vice minister for global environment affairs, Hideki Minamikawa confirmed to the international media that ‘continuing with the second commitment period does not make any sense.’

Instead, Japan supports a new international framework with the participation of all major emitters based on the Copenhagen Accord.

According to Tokyo’s calculations, the current Kyoto Protocol covers only a small part of developed countries, representing 27 percent of the global carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion.

“That is why Japan is aiming at an early adoption of a new single legally binding instrument that is fair and effective, said Minamikawa.

He brushed aside media claims that Japan shocked the Cancun negotiations with its decision not to support a second commitment period for the Protocol.

“This is not new. The position has been clearly decided by the Ministerial meeting president by our Prime Minister.

Minister Miniamikawa said his country has not abandoned the Kyoto Protocol as it one of the Parties to the agreement adopted in1997.

One of his negotiators, Jun Arima said, “KP’s coverage is very limited. Rather than jumping to another legally binding agreement, Parties should consider jumping to one that is more effective, referring to the Copenhagen Accord.”

Here in Cancun, Japan will support a framework that is well balanced and comprehensive, a similar position adopted by the United States at the current negotiations.

The United States is not a party to the Kyoto Protocol. When its chief negotiator, Dr Jonathan Pershing was pressed for a comment on Japan’s position, Dr Pershing said the United States will not comment on a sovereign decision of a Party and will respect whatever decision it takes.

A major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the first commitment period comes to an end in 2012.

Green groups reacted immediately after Japan hinted Monday night that it does not want to continue with a second commitment period.

Friends of the Earth said Japan had thrown down an obstacle at Cancun, where the future of the Protocol is part of a complex, interlinked haggle, by speaking so bluntly.

"With this position, Japan isolates itself from the rest of the world. Even worse, this step undermines the ongoing talks and is a serious threat to the progress needed here in Cancun," said Yuri Onodera of Friends of the Earth Japan.

Chirstian Aid echoed similar opposition.

"Japan's hard line position on the Kyoto Protocol puts the global climate architecture at risk. This position violates Japan's legally binding commitment, turns its backon science, and disrespects the people most vulnerable to climate change. It's shocking that at a time when the whole world is seeking to strengthen the climate regime Japan wants to kill the treaty that bears its name", said Mohamed Adow, Senior Climate Change Advisor, Christian Aid.