Tuesday, April 20, 2010

State Department Summary Of Major Economies Forum Meeting

Apr 19: State Department representatives U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman issued a brief summary of the April 18-19 meeting -- the sixth Meeting at the Leaders' representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) that took place in Washington, DC [See WIMS 4/19/10]. It was attended by officials from the seventeen major economies, as well as the United Nations, with Colombia, Denmark, Grenada, and Yemen also participating in the session. The MEF includes Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The previous MEF meeting took place in London last October [See WIMS 10/19/09].

    According to the summary, participants agreed that smaller, informal discussions such as the Major Economies Forum contributed to success in Copenhagen and can facilitate and enrich the discussions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the multilateral forum for negotiating climate change. Parties also highlighted the importance of discussions being representative and transparent. Participants generally felt that Copenhagen Accord represented an important step forward, and that it provided important political consensus that should be reflected regarding the key issues in the negotiations leading up to the UNFCCC Cancun meeting scheduled for November 29 to December 10,  2010.

    Participants discussed goals for Cancun and beyond. There was a discussion of the role of the Kyoto Protocol and the form of a legal outcome. There was also a discussion of the key issues that need to be addressed to have a successful outcome in Cancun, noting the importance of setting realistic expectations for Cancun. Recognizing the urgency of moving forward, participants felt that "in Cancun countries should at a minimum agree on a balanced set of decisions informed by the Copenhagen Accord."

    Participants discussed what work needs to be done in the year ahead, including "the need to elaborate the measurement, reporting, and verification and other transparency provisions of the Accord." In this regard, participants welcomed India's presentation on practical approaches to Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation and international consultations and analysis. Various participants also spoke to equity, the role of markets, engaging smaller countries in the mitigation effort, how to ensure that the approach going forward reflects the dictates of science, domestic actions already underway to implement mitigation commitments under the Accord, and actions to reduce deforestation. Participants supported the Mexican Presidency's efforts to prepare the 16 meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP16).

    Many countries noted the importance of moving forward promptly with the Accord's "Fast Start financing provisions" in a transparent fashion. Several countries presented information on the actions they were already undertaking in response to their fast start financing commitment under the Copenhagen Accord. The participants were briefed on the Clean Energy Ministerial to be held July 19-20, 2010 in Washington DC that aims to advance key activities in the Technology Action Plans of the Global Partnership launched by Leaders in L'Aquila July 2009 [See WIMS 7/13/09].

    The U.S. also released a 2-page document on the "fast start" efforts. The document states in part that, "The United States is committed to the full implementation of the Copenhagen Accord. As part of this commitment, we are working together with our partners to provide 'fast start' climate finance approaching $30 billion during the period 2010-2012 to help meet adaptation and mitigation needs of developing countries. Climate-related appropriations for 2010 total $1.3 billion, and the Administration has requested $1.9 billion in appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. These funds include support for the Administration's pledge to provide $1 billion for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+). In addition to these appropriations, U.S. development finance and export credit agencies are on track to provide more than $700 million in 2010, and nearly $900 million in 2011, in financial instruments that help American firms and investors wit their foreign partners, deploy clean energy technologies in develop countries."

    A release from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) indicates that the next ministerial meetings will be convened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Petersburg, Germany from May 2-4 and by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo, Norway on May 27. High-level talks among Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) concluded last week in Brasilia, Brazil. The UN Climate Treaty Parties are expected to conduct a ministerial meeting shortly after their next round of talks in Bonn, Germany, in June.

    EDF's International Counsel Annie Petsonk said, "Having the climate talks proceed in May in several international forums presents challenges, but it also creates opportunities for coalitions to emerge among nations that move swiftly to embrace carbon regulation and position themselves for clean economic growth. That competition presents an even greater imperative for the Obama Administration to make a serious push now for a balanced energy-climate bill in the U.S. Senate."

    Access the State Department meeting summary (click here). Access the U.S. fast track document (click here). Access a release from EDF with links to additional information (click here). Access the State Department MEF website (click here). Access the MEF website for information on past meetings (click here). Access various media reports on the meeting (click here). Access links to a number of documents posted by OECD on the issue of MRV (click here).