At the United Nations climate conference (COP17) in Durban, delegates will negotiate detailed decisions on measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV). In another post, we review the importance of MRV and the main decisions facing negotiators in Durban. As negotiators for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) consider new MRV mechanisms, they may not need to reinvent the wheel.
Lessons and Next Steps
This paper was originally written as an input into the sixth meeting of the International Partnership on Mitigation and MRV in Panama City in October 2011.
The thousands of delegates preparing to descend on Durban for COP17 should read Robert F. Kennedy’s famous “Day of Affirmation” speech en route. They will discover a call to action as powerful today as it was almost half a century ago. They will also find sensible guidance on how to overcome the sense of drift that has gripped the climate negotiations for much of this past year. If they heed his call they may discover that African soils are not for burying the climate regime as some pessimists suggest, but rather for growing the seeds of its future success.
If one thinks of the ongoing climate negotiations as a paint-by-numbers picture, the Cancun Agreements outlined what to paint and the basic colors to use. In last week’s Panama talks, Parties continued painting with various hues that, once complete, will hopefully create a detailed and beautiful picture. The painting does not yet have a frame, however, as the Parties still have to decide on what kind of “agreed outcome” the negotiations are leading to – i.e., a legally binding agreement or a non-binding one. At the same time the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012, which adds complexity but also opportunity to the picture.
As the reporting deadline for 2010 looms, developed countries will need to prove that they are honestly meeting their modest $30 billion commitment.
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The UNFCCC Cancun Agreements of December 2010 marked an important step forward for transparency of country actions to respond to climate change. In addition to creating a new standard for the way countries report on their national climate commitments and actions, the agreements mandated advances in the reporting and review of countries’ climate finance contributions.
Developed countries have collectively pledged USD 30 billion from 2010-2012 to support developing countries’ climate efforts. This pledge, known as “fast-start finance,” was initially made in Copenhagen in 2009, and reiterated in the 2010 Cancun Agreements.
Negotiators are now figuring out the details that will turn the Cancun Agreements into something that makes a difference on the ground.
Last month’s international climate negotiations in Cancun showed progress on many fronts, especially in ensuring greater transparency in countries’ emissions reporting.