Politics Of Climate Change

Talks resume in Bangkok

The global negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) will resume in Bangkok, Thailand in the first week of September in preparation for the Eighteenth Conference of Parties (COP18) which will be held in December 2012 in Doha, Qatar.
There a number of outstanding issues which are expected to be negotiated in Bangkok in order to arrive at a decision at COP18 in December. Some of the key issues are described below.
Kyoto Protocol
The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is due to expire at the end of December 2012 and will need to be replaced by a second commitment period. It was originally hoped that this would be achieved at COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009 but that summit ended in failure to achieve an agreement.
Last year at COP17 in Durban, South Africa, a compromise agreement for an "interim" second commitment period from the European Union resulted in a compromise outcome. This interim second commitment period up to 2017 has now been endorsed by some other developed countries including Australia and New Zealand but with the expectation that all other countries, including the United States of America, China and India, will agree to a new post-Kyoto protocol (or agreement), which will replace the original Kyoto Protocol in a more comprehensive manner by 2017 (or 2020 at the latest).
These negotiations will be amongst the most politically sensitive in Doha in December.
The issues under adaptation are less contentious and revolve around operationalising the decisions that were reached in Durban last December, which include the setting up of the Adaptation Committee and preparing guidelines for countries to carry our their National Adaptation Plans (NAP). The other issue that remains is how much funding the developed countries will provide to the developing countries to carry out their NAPs.
This will remain one of the most contentious topics as always with the main issue being how to operationalise the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through which the developed countries have promised to channel up to $100 billion a year from 2020. The Executive Committee of the GCF has been set up and Bangladesh has been included in it. It will develop the modalities for the operationalising the GCF.
Another issue related to funding is what happens between 2013 (when the Fast Start Finance of $30 Billion over 3 years ends) and 2020 when the GCF funding starts. The developed countries will be pressed in Bangkok to say what they are willing to provide between 2013 and 2020.
Loss and damage
This is a new topic that was agreed in Durban and there will be a workshop in Bangkok to prepare for a possible decision on COP18 in December. Bangladesh will be well represented in this technical workshop to share work being done in Bangladesh.
Role of Bangladesh and LDCs
Bangladesh, as a key member of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, will continue to play a key role in support of the group in the negotiations. The LDC Group is currently chaired by the Gambia, which will hand over the Chairmanship to Nepal after COP18.
Bangladesh has already offered to support Nepal in its role as LDC Chair from next year.

The writer is Senior Fellow at the London based International Institute for Environment and Development and Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Independent University, Bangladesh. E-mail: [email protected]


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