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COP20 Climate Talks Start Getting Serious, Kerry To Fly In

Cautious optimism from recent world progress (the US-China agreements, Green Climate Fund pledges, other international commitments) marked the first week of the UN’s COP20 climate change meetings in Peru. Lots of information changed hands as new data and solutions came forth from both governments and nongovernmental institutions. Of course, moments of hilarity, protest, and shock also punctuated the meetings. The “hot buttons” remain hot—but then, what powwow as broad as this does not have its share of surprises?

Inti Punku, the Sun Gate (flickr/McKay Savage)

Inti Punku, the Sun Gate (flickr/McKay Savage)

This week, the talks get down to real business, the kind that may offer the world a chance for concerted action in the face of a worsening climate mess. Or not. The success of the final week of international negotiations depends on the willingness of developed and developing nations to forge a fair agreement as close to one-size-fits-all (but allowing for unique national circumstances) as possible. Most delegates and even critics feel that week 1 was a good start, although to some it appeared slow.

Over the weekend COP20 published an exhaustive compilation of text input received from convention parties by 6 pm on Saturday 6 December. The document provides the most complete look at country positions on various issues coming into this week. This morning (Monday 8 December 2014) at 6:30, the COP20 ADP released two other draft documents:

  1. Elements for a draft negotiating text, 33 pp. on ADP 2-7 agenda item 3. These currently include multiple options proposed for Mitigation, Adaptation and loss and damage, Monitoring and evaluation, Finance, Technology development and transfer, Capacity-building, Transparency, Time frame, Facilitating implementation and compliance, and Procedural and institutional provisions.
  2. Draft COP decision proposed by the Co-Chairs, 18 pp., per ADP 2-7 agenda item 3 Implementation of all the elements of decision 1/CP.17. This text specifies 36 action items, with options as needed.

Over the next few days, high-level ministers and heads of state will examine and finalize these two documents in preparation for the post-2020 protocol expected to be set down in Paris next year. According to RTCC, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, differentiates between the two documents:

  • The “draft decision,” less interesting to the public and the media, sets out what information countries need to submit during 2015 ahead of Paris. Figueres hopes to see it finished by Thursday.
  • The “elements” text, which may generate more scrutiny, is not final until Paris next year.

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday 9 December), the high-level segment of COP20 will begin. US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected on Thursday for part of the high-level meetings. Ban Ki-Moon, U.N. Secretary-General, also plans to be present.

Joint plenary meetings of COP20 and CMP10 will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, featuring individual national and/or group statements. The COP and CMP will meet separately on Friday morning. Decisions and conclusions recommended at their sessions can then be presented at the end of the meeting.

The first biennial high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance will take place tomorrow afternoon. A high-level ministerial dialogue on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action will be held Wednesday afternoon. Further high-level dialogues may also be required.

Representatives from intergovernmental and observer organizations will address the high-level segment at a joint plenary meeting on Thursday afternoon. A draft report on the COP20 session’s work overall will be prepared for adoption, and the COP will be invited to adopt the draft report. The session will then close. That may happen early Friday afternoon, or delegates may stay up until the wee hours Saturday, as they did last year in Warsaw, trying to get the right fit.

Upcoming reports will focus on issues still to be decided and items of special interest. CleanTechnica and Planetsave will bring you developments as they occur until the end of the conference. Acronyms are interpreted here.

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Written By

covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She's currently on the climate beat for Important Media, having attended last year's COP20 in Lima Peru. Sandy has also worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm. She writes for several weblogs and attributes her modest success to an "indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity."


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