COP 20 Oxfam Daily Download

December 12, 2014

December 12, 5pm EST

There is still no sign of when COP20 will end. Throughout the morning, parties expressed their views on the 7 page draft text circulated late last night at a “contact group” meeting. Parties expressed a willingness and ability to work off the draft text but mostly offered comments that hewed to their entrenched positions on the issues. China and India continued to push back against provisions that would allow the world to judge the adequacy of next year’s initial climate action pledges (INDC’s).

At an afternoon “stocktaking” the COP President described progress so far and said work was continuing. The “contact group” is resuming this afternoon so remaining parties who have yet to speak can make their views known ahead of another “stocktaking” session at a time to be determined this evening. Behind the scenes negotiators are working to forge an agreement and find a path towards an outcome.

Separate discussions are proceeding to overcome sticking points on the approach to finance in the time pre-2020, which is oddly referred to as “long term finance.” Compromise proposals are floating around among negotiators but these have yet to be made public. The current state of play is that the outcome will likely be very weak. Proposals to create a roadmap for reaching the $100 billion promise have been watered down to merely “inviting” developed countries to provide further information on this goal. This makes it very unlikely that developing countries will get the clarity, predictability and support they need to boost climate action in the next few years.

It is anyone’s guess as to when things will move forward toward a conclusion but the clock is ticking.

Stay tuned.

December 12, 1pm EST update

Will world leaders head out of Lima with solutions or just emissions?

December 12, morning

The clock is ticking. The penultimate day offered by far the most fireworks of the talks so far. An energetic and impassioned speech from US Secretary of State John Kerry alongside the recriminations and intrigue of a mistakenly released draft decision text were followed by a long night of work to find a path forward.

Nobody yet knows when the talks will come to a conclusion. Late last night a new text, trimmed down to seven pages, was officially released. Parties are scheduled to continue deliberations this morning. This should lead to a better understanding of how much more negotiating is yet to come, as the current text still contains many options from which Parties, and eventually Ministers, will have to choose.

The final day of the talks feels like reading a choose your own adventure novel. The text is dangerously weak. The choices made today will either put us on a barely workable path heading into Paris or doom us to a dangerous future. The ingredients for some progress in Lima are on the table, but negotiators need to have the courage to use them.

Today negotiators are likely to work through the issues that absolutely must to be resolved before leaving Lima. These include determining what countries will need to include in their pledges early in 2015 as well as if and how those pledges will be reviewed and judged for their adequacy and fairness. Finance also remains a sticking point, as developing countries - as has been said since day one - need assurances that developed countries will fulfill their previous promises and agree to new ones after 2020.

Whatever options negotiators choose, many very difficult issues will be left unresolved in Lima and the world will still be headed down a treacherous road towards extreme warming.

Will this be the final daily download of COP20??? Stay tuned.

Watch Winnie Byanyim's interview with Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! direct from Lima this morning:

December 11, 2014

Breaking, Dec 11, afternoon:

Oxfam releases the following statement from Heather Coleman, climate program manager for Oxfam America, regarding today's speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry at the UN climate negotiations in Lima, Peru:

"We welcome Secretary Kerry's visit and message at the talks. With just hours to go in the negotiations we hope his personal engagement can re-inject energy and urgency into the effort to deal with the many difficult and unresolved issues on the table. His visit is an important sign of the ongoing US commitment to reaching a post-2020 deal in Paris next year. It is critical that the Secretary's visit is matched with steps by his negotiating team to move the US away from hard line stances that contribute to the slow pace of action in Lima."

* * *

Crunch time. Just 2 days to go in the official schedule, although few observers expect that talks will end before Saturday. A new draft compilation paper of the elements of a new Paris agreement was released yesterday. It grew from 33 pages to 37 pages and includes a variety of contradicting options on each issue to satisfy most parties that their priorities are still on the table. This document will essentially become the draft Paris agreement, but will require substantial work next year, more than had been hoped.

The main focus over the next 2 days will be the components of country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that will be released in the first half of 2015. These conversations went late into the night last night with slow progress through the sticky issues. The key debate remains over how countries should be characterized and what that will require of them in terms of action.

Other central issues being worked through include the end date for the commitments (2025 vs. 2030), what information must be provided so they can be comparable, whether there can be a common format agreed so they can be compared, and whether there will be a formal process to review commitments against the 2 degree goal and for their fairness.

Ministers will also hash out whether INDCs will require information about countries’ national adaptation plans and whether developed countries will be required to describe their financial support to poor countries post 2020.

Based on the progress so far, and the status of conversations on the INDCs, it is beginning to feel like there won’t be very much accomplished here and the really difficult work is being left for 2015. The INDCs are the key output to ensure that Paris has the momentum it needs for a strong deal that can break through the historical differences. If the INDCs are not strong enough, Paris will be a long slog.

Welcome rays of light yesterday were two separate $6 million pledges to the Green Climate Fund from Peru and Colombia. These commitments should embarrass some of the developed countries who are still yet to pledge. The pledges are a strong show of solidarity and described by both countries as an effort to spur on a new era and a new agreement. The pledges are somewhat of a shift in thinking about the Fund, which had been created to channel climate finance from developed countries.

Stay tuned for daily updates for as many days we have left...

December 10, 2014

More than 10,000 people from South America and around the world are projected to join the People’s Climate March in Lima this morning urging governments here in Peru to get a deal this week that sets the table for Paris. It is expected to be the largest climate march ever organized in South America, building on the massive mobilization in New York and around the world in September and demonstrating yet again that ordinary people want their governments to act.

Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, is at the climate march in Lima. Contact Ben Grossman-Cohen for interviews on mobile phone: +51 949 728 813.

Inside the conference center the negotiations are taking far too long to get through the difficult issues.

There is little doubt that Lima will produce some form of agreement, but the pace and tenor of discussions are raising fears that few if any of the details that need to be agreed before Paris will be resolved this week. The big worry is that we will leave Lima with a vague and highly limited agreement that poisons the well for Paris. We are at a very tenuous position in the discussions with tensions bubbling below the surface that could break into the open.

The COP20 Presidency is working behind the scenes to avoid a bust up and find a workable compromise on issues like the roadmap showing how developed countries will meet their $100 billion promise and how to decide what is expected from each country when they put forward their initial offers early next year. Nobody wants to trip up the Paris talks before they begin and the Presidency is actively engaged to avoid it. Today negotiators will discuss what will be in next year’s INDC’s, aka their pre-Paris commitments.

Today they will touch on the difficult question of whether developed nations will have to provide information in these commitments on the kind of financial support that they will commit mobilize to enable poor countries to take climate action.

*The draft of the long term agreement to be negotiated in Paris.

Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the week.

December 9, 2014

As ministers arrive and kick off the home stretch of negotiations, there are real worries that the pace of action will leave us without the level of progress promised or hoped for in Lima. The ambition to deliver a draft of a Paris agreement is slipping away, which could leave significantly more work to do to tackle tough issues in 2015.

Finance, both in the post 2020 deal and the period between now and 2020, is emerging as a major sticking point this week. Negotiators have not moved conversations very far and Ministers have a difficult task to find consensus. Developing countries will not agree to a deal here in Lima that does not move us closer to knowing how developed countries will meet their $100 billion promise by 2020.

Developed countries also continue to push aggressively to delete any references in the text that would commit them to give financial support to poor countries after 2020. But for developing countries this is a bright red line. These two issues must be resolved by ministers this week. If these two issues are not resolved this week it could poison the well for a Paris deal in 2015.

This topic will be on display at the ministerial meetings this afternoon. Expect developed country ministers to offer speeches that praise the existing pledges to the Green Climate Fund while developing countries point out that these are woefully inadequate. The real test will be whether we can move beyond these talking points and iron out a package on finance that sets the table for real progress in Paris.

News broke last night that Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Lima on Thursday, the first US Secretary of State at the talks since Copenhagen.

Hopefully his presence will contribute to boosting the level of energy and urgency that have so far characterized the conference. News also broke this morning that Belgium has pledged approximately $62.5 million USD to the Green Climate Fund taking the total slightly closer to the $10 billion threshold.

Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the week.

December 8, 2014

The second week kicks off with a scramble to review the results (new draft texts) from week one. These drafts are a bit later in the process than would be hoped for contributing to a feeling that the first week was overly sluggish although mostly smooth.

Yesterday text was circulated on efforts to ramp up funding from developed country to meet their pledge to mobilize $100 billion by 2020 for climate action in poor countries. This draft currently includes strong proposals from African and Latin American countries, calling on developed countries to demonstrate their current progress to meeting this goal and provide a detailed roadmap on how finance will be ramped up over the next few years.

This will see heavy resistance from developed countries, especially the US, Australia and Japan. A counter-productive item in the text is a proposal from the EU, which aims to say formally that current financial flows already today amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. While the suggested paragraph does not specifically claim the $100bn promise has been met, this is a clear attempt to deflect calls for further action and should be stripped out.

The new text of the ADP*, which is the framework for a long term deal in Paris, has just been released this morning. We are working to analyze it fully now. It includes a range of options that are still to be whittled down in tough negotiations this week. But the important thing to look for is which options have made it through the initial discussions and remain on the table for a deal. We can expect the most contentious debate to circle around the question how to differentiate between countries to determine their responsibility to act and how to provide for financial support to poor countries in the new agreement. Developed countries worked throughout week one to strip from the text any references to financial commitments in the long term deal.

As we prepare for Ministers to arrive tomorrow, the talks urgently need new energy. Week one was lethargic with negotiators mostly posturing, holding onto their extreme positions. There is opportunity for real progress, but urgency has been sorely lacking. The risk is that negotiators allow themselves to be lulled in complacency, and not enough will be resolved by the end of the week to allow for successful talks in Paris. The posturing of week one must now make way for consensus building with parties moving towards compromise.

* The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. Workstream 1 is negotiating the post 2020 agreement. And Workstream 2 negotiates the pre-2020 issues such as climate finance and increasing ambition on emissions reduction targets.

Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the week.

December 5, 2014

Day 5 begins without yesterday’s cloud of procedural wrangling hanging over the discussions. The intramural debate about how to proceed with negotiations on the draft decision was resolved and negotiators are moving forward with their work. Importantly today’s session will cover a critical set of issues around paragraph 13 of the current draft, which determines the guidance that will be given to parties about what must be include in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) next year. This is an important debate to watch. Whether or not countries will be pushed to include financial promises in these INDCs and how to assess the strength and quality of their initial offers are key parts of this conversation.

Yesterday talks about long term finance made progress with the Africa Group officially tabling a proposed text with support from numerous developing countries. If accepted as basis for negotiations, the African text would receive formal status at the talks and move the conversations beyond the more informal discussion of the “non-paper”. Developed countries objected to using the Africa Group’s text as the basis for negotiations and the session ended before this was decided. Throughout the conversation, developed countries had continued to push to delete all text related to new commitments of finance post 2020 to the chagrin of developing country negotiators.

At noon today the UNEP will release a stunning new report on the gap in climate adaptation funding. The report will show that existing estimates of adaptation finance needs ($70-100 billion annually) vastly undershoot reality and could be as much as five times higher. The report also shows that current spending on adaptation is nowhere need adequate. Please contact me for more information. Here is a reaction to this report from Jan Kowalzig, policy advisor for Oxfam, embargoed until 12pm eastern:

“This report offers irrefutable evidence of the yawning gap between governments’ current efforts to protect our communities and the dangerous realities of climate disruption. The report leaves no doubt, adaptation must be at the heart of a long term agreement developed here in Lima. Communities around the world are drastically unprepared for the costly impacts of climate change, which is already destroying lives and livelihoods every day. The dangerous realities cannot be ignored. Developed countries must urgently increase their support for developing countries to prepare. Negotiators here in Lima must put in place a roadmap showing how they will ramp up funding to meet their $100 billion annual commitment.”

If you are here in Lima, please make sure to check out the solidarity action at 11am this morning with widows of murdered Peruvian environmental activists in the center square of the venue.

Breaking news, Dec 5, morning: Oxfam reacts to Norway pledge to Green Climate Fund

Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the week.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

As we begin day 4, the mood has shifted and the positive energy that characterized the opening few days has dissipated with a return to familiar negotiation patterns. Yesterday, long term finance negotiations continued in the same spirit as the opening session. Developed countries continued to advocate for language to be stripped from the working paper that would obligate them to make future financial commitments. Meanwhile developing countries advocated strongly for language that will ensure developed countries are responsible to fund climate action in the developing world and not the other way around.

Separately conversations began over the format of next year’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and quickly devolved into a process debate. This is not unusual at this stage in the COP but clearly not a productive approach to move talks forward. Developing countries pushed to begin a line by line discussion of the text while developed countries, opposed this approach because it would take too long. Developing countries argue that they don’t have the same number of experts and staff in their delegations so the only way they can analyze suggested text in the same way developed countries do, is to have it up on the screen with everyone together. This issue could not be resolved in the room so the chair convened a small group of “friends of the chair” to try to work out a path forward. This group will reconvene early this morning to try to find a solution.

Outside of the conference center many are bracing for the impact of Super Typhoon Hagupit, which is barreling towards the Philippines coast. The U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated Hagupit's maximum sustained 1-minute wind speed at 180 mph, putting it in a tie as the most powerful typhoon of 2014. Hagupit is now the equivalent of a high-end Category 5 hurricane.

Oxfam staff in the region are monitoring the typhoon’s progress and the local response. Quote from Oxfam Country Director in the Philippines Justin Morgan:

“We are watching Typhoon Hagupit closely. Local Government Units are activating their evacuation plans, in coordination with other humanitarian agencies. Oxfam has contingency stocks positioned throughout the Philippines and has staff ready to support in an emergency response. One year on from Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines has improved its preparedness. People are much more aware of which locations are safe and what provisions they should stock. However, the fear is that not all evacuation centers have been fully repaired.”

Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the week.

Happy day 3.

Update 3 December, afternoon: Press release UNFCCC Observers insist on rules for climate finance: Statement by NGOs, Unions and Movements from across the world

Update 3 December, morning: Media reaction: Oxfam response to the World Meteorological Organization announcement that 2014 could be the hottest year on record

Day 2 of the COP saw the first sparks fly in negotiations over finance issues in the long term agreement*. Though turbulence was minor, it shows where the trouble spots could be in the discussions. Finance will again dominate the negotiating agenda today picking up where conversations left off yesterday about finance in the post 2020 agreement as well as a new session on efforts to reach the existing $100 billion annual commitment by 2020.
Yesterday’s conflict arose when the US objected to several issues that are in the current “non-paper” on finance. A non-paper is a summary of all of the ideas and views of parties to the negotiations, it is not a formal text with official status at the talks, but helps get positions out on the table. The US pushed to delete language in the paper, which says that financial commitments should be new and additional, predictable, and adequate. These points are very critical to developing countries. Additionally, Switzerland pushed aggressively to say that unless a paragraph calling for new commitments of finance post 2020 is left out of the text, there would be no agreement in Lima.
Several developing countries also raised objections, mostly focused around process issues, because they did not feel as if their views were adequately reflected in the non-paper. These countries from the Like Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group aimed to push the process beyond the non-paper into a true negotiation over formal text. They also are wary of language in the paper, which might imply that they will become contributors of finance in the future. They worry these changes would obligate certain “developing” countries to do more than their fair share.
Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the week.
* These occurred during finance negotiations in the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). Workstream 1 is negotiating the post 2020 agreement. And Workstream 2 negotiates the pre-2020 issues such as climate finance and increasing ambition on emissions reduction targets.


* * *

Welcome to day 2.

With the ceremonial first day behind us, the nitty-gritty of the negotiations will get underway in earnest this morning. The formal talks of the ADP* - the working group that negotiates the details of a long term future treaty - kickoff with opening statements this morning and the first real working session this afternoon. Critical issues, such as how financial support for developing countries will fit into the long term agreement, will be discussed.

One important outcome from day one was news that the COP 20 Presidency announced they aim to end the meetings in Lima with a formal draft text of a Paris agreement. This is ambitious goal and one worth monitoring as we get closer to the end of the Lima talks.

Yesterday saw strong posturing from parties on all sides of the negotiations, particularly with tough statements from the representative of the “Like Minded Developing Countries.” But nothing out of the ordinary, unexpected or out of step with previous positions was offered on day 1, leaving negotiators a lot of work ahead of them to come closer to agreement in the next 2 weeks.

Significantly, there were no process-oriented issues tabled on day one, setting the table for real work to proceed. Often these marginal process issues are put forward by parties as a stalling tactic to delay real negotiations on key issues. But these did not arise, allowing a more constructive tone than we have seen in past negotiating rounds.

Stay tuned for daily updates throughout the week, via @Oxfam.

* The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. Workstream 1 is negotiating the post 2020 agreeement. And Workstream 2 negotiates the pre-2020 issues such as climate finance and increasing ambition on emissions reduction targets.


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