Text-Based Talks Begin In Cancun Climate Talks; Civil Society Demands Transparency05/12/2010 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.Global talks to address climate change being held in Cancun hobbled along last week amid calls for flexibility among parties. Japan declared its opposition to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol setting binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, civil society worried about transparency in the negotiating process, as countries started negotiations on specific texts. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) is hosting the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties and the 6th Conference of the Parties (COP) serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol from 29 November to 10 December.On Saturday, the chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA), Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe of Zimbabwe, released a new version of the document “possible elements of the outcome” [pdf]. COP President Patricia Espinosa in the meantime asked delegates to reach decisions while ministers were arriving in Cancun and an informal ministerial session would be held today, according to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian policy research institute.Mukahanana-Sangarwe said negotiations on technology transfer were “closer to compromise solutions,” and on capacity building and a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, she said the outcome was conditioned by additional work and compromise, reported ENB.Japan created consternation when it said it would not take part in an extension of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that set binding targets by 2012 for 37 industrialised countries and the European Community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During a 1 December press conference, Japan’s representative said that parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity had agreed on 29 October to the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing and a new strategic plan for the years 2011-2020 in the context of the 10th Conference of the Parties, and Japan hoped to carry this momentum of the CBD to Cancun.The 1998 Kyoto Protocol [pdf] was the first step, he said, but “it does not make sense” to set a second commitment period under the protocol as it imposes obligations on a small number of countries representing only 27 percent of global emissions of greenhouse gas. Japan prefers to refer to the Copenhagen Accord [pdf] agreed in December 2009 in Copenhagen at the last UNFCCC conference of the parties, and is in favour of the early adoption of a new international binding instrument covering all major emitters, he said.Developing countries would like the countries under the Kyoto Protocol to commit to a second period. The European Union said on 2 December that it was willing to consider a further commitment under the protocol and also an instrument that would cover more countries.Civil Society Reacts to Japanese PositionSpeaking at a press conference convened by Friends of the Earth International on 1 December, a Christian Aid representative said the statement of Japan was impacting the future of the only legally binding climate treaty “that we have,” and was undermining the negotiations. “Japan abandoned one of its babies,” he said, adding that Japan was bound by the protocol to negotiate a second commitment period.Sirvan Kartha of the Stockholm Environment Institute, speaking on his own behalf, saw a flaw in the 27 percent of global emissions that Japan argued Kyoto Protocol countries were responsible for. According to Kartha, the Kyoto Protocol was never intended to define a set of countries that capture the majority of global emissions but defines a set of countries that capture the majority of the responsibility to deal with the problems. Responsibility is much more than emissions, he said.“If you think not in terms of territorial emission but in terms of emissions responsibility,” he said, it is necessary to take into account that much of the consumption of the world occurs in the list of 37 countries in annex 1 of the protocol who agreed on emission reductions, though production is increasing in southern countries. The production of products that are exported to the North accounts for more than 20 percent of China’s emissions, he said.One key issue of the Cancun meeting is to solve the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, a Brazilian official said during a press briefing. Some countries are reluctant to engage in this area “but solving this problem is fundamental.” Brazil is favouring a legal outcome on the new targets of the second commitment under the protocol, he said.NGOs: Say No to Copenhagen-style processOn 2 December, a group of NGOs released an open letter given to the Mexican government on 29 November to call for a transparent and democratic process and claimed that the Mexican government had yet to reply.The letter said that the process “must avoid the exclusive, un-transparent and undemocratic conduct of the December 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, which ended in acrimony, undermined trust and led to the controversial Copenhagen Accord.” The group claims the accord was produced by an exclusive group of 28 countries selected by the Danish government and “tabled as a ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ basis” at the end of the conference.This kind of claim was heard from civil society in Nagoya, with the president of the conference of the parties taking matters into his hands and providing what the executive secretary of the CBD Ahmed Djoghlaf described as a “take-it or leave-it” text of the Nagoya protocol, hours before the final plenary. Some countries expressed their disagreement of the proposed text but did not block it, civil society said the protocol was a good first step although much was left to interpretation (IPW, United Nations, 29 October 2010).One of the concerns of the NGOs was that in the chair’s proposal for a Cancun outcome under the predecessor Bali Action Plan, key demands of developing countries were removed, including removing references to keeping warming below 1 or 1.5 degrees, removing references for financing of at least 1.5 percent of Annex 1 GNP, and empowering the World Bank as trustee to oversee funds instead of the request of developing countries that funds be under the authority of UNFCCC.The group also claim that the text had removed proposals by Bolivia based on the World People’s Agreement “reflecting the will of over 35,000 representatives of social movements and organisations.”The Bali Action Plan, decided upon at the 2007 COP, set up the two working groups AWG-LCA and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).Reports Warns against InactionOn 4 December, humanitarian research organisation DARA and the Climate Vulnerability Forum launched a new report on the status of the climate. The report, entitled the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, says “close to 80 percent of the human toll of climate change exclusively concerns children in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia succumbing to malnutrition,” and illnesses.The report warns against inaction that would lead to catastrophic consequences such as intensified competition for resources and the shrinkage of political space for cooperation.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Text-Based Talks Begin In Cancun Climate Talks; Civil Society Demands Transparency" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.