12 june 2009

Kyoto Protocol: Contact Group on scale of emission reductions

CAN-International intervention

Chair, Distinguished delegates,

What is clear in the negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol is that there remains a large gap between the scale of reductions needed to avert dangerous levels of climate change and what industrialized countries have proposed so far—underlined again by the disgracefully weak target announced yesterday by one Annex I country.

Not one developed country has yet committed to emission reductions that acknowledge the urgency of the issue. Several countries have failed to come forward with any commitments at all.

Aggregate reductions of more than 40% below 1990 are required from industrialized countries by 2020. Anything lower unfairly shifts the mitigation burden to developing countries OR places an enormous burden on the entire world, especially most vulnerable countries and communities, to adapt to monumental changes.

Ambition is also lacking with respect to the pace of negotiations. We have only six months before Copenhagen—and seven short weeks of negotiations—and progress is needed now on industrialized country Mitigation commitments. A decision—of more than -40%—on the aggregate target for industrialized countries is an essential signal to the rest of the world that rich countries are taking the climate crisis as seriously as the economic one.

Some Parties have suggested that we must wait until all the rules on LULUCF [Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry] and flexible mechanisms are clear, that we cannot make decisions without non-Kyoto Annex I Parties [e.g., the United States], and that we must wait to completely understand the outcomes from the LCA [Long-term Cooperative Action] negotiations. It is necessary for LULUCF rules to be clear before overall national targets are agreed. If targets are agreed first, they could be partly undone by LULUCF rules
designed to deliver more credits and make it easier to reach those Targets. However, the aggregate evidence, of the sort presented by Micronesia on behalf of AOSIS [Association of small island states] last week.

That said, we do not have the luxury of time. Negotiations must make progress on the scale of effort under the assumption that the effort from the United States will be comparable and that rules on forestry accounting will remain more or less as they are.

Future changes to those rules can then be reflected in the aggregate and individual targets. Otherwise, every discussion can become mired in questions about what is happening in other halls rather than making progress on agenda items in this one.

The Copenhagen agreement should set mid-term and long-term deep emission reduction objectives for industrialized countries that reflect the science. To show how they plan to achieve deep reductions, developed countries need to submit detailed plans that outline the policies and measures that will be implemented in order to achieve their mid-term quantified emissions reduction commitments and put them on the right trajectory towards near total decarbonization by 2050.

A scientific review is also needed, ending no later than 2015, to ensure the adequacy of mitigation commitments made by Annex I countries. The Kyoto Protocol’s 5-year commitment period system must be maintained in order to be relevant to political cycles and to help ensure compliance. It will also allow more opportunities for increased effort and ambition so that commitments reflect the best and latest climate change science. In the interest of accountability, transparency, and consistency, 1990 should be maintained as the base year and commitments need to be expressed on the basis of percentage
reductions from 1990 levels.

Industrialized countries should meet their targets primarily from in-country reductions, with a strict limit on offsets. There must be no double counting of international offsets and MRV-supported mitigation action in developing countries. And finally, Parties should not be able to avoid real action through the use of “hot air.”

Time is short. The needed effort is great. It is time to get going.

Thank you.

>>> Back to list