Results of the first week of the climate negotiations COP-16 in Cancun

The first week of international UN Climate Conference in Cancun has ended. Confrontation between developed and developing countries on the distribution of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions remains. On many issues, the proposals are diametrically opposed.
Review of the first week of negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, prepared by the CAN-EECCA (Climate Action Network in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia).

Political dynamics

  • New texts for negotiating appeared, but they did not differ significantly from the old ones, containing the same extreme opposite options;
  • Japan made the statement against prolongation of the Kyoto Protocol. The rest of the atmosphere of the talks is positive (though positive atmosphere does not lead not necessarily to positive results);
  • The press is actively writing about the fact that the statement of Japan killed the Kyoto Protocol, but it is not entirely true - there are countries that are willing to commit to the second period: the EU, Norway;
  • Confrontation between developed and developing countries on the distribution of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions remains;
  • Negotiations depend on the decisions of the two giants - the U.S. and China;
  • Because of the failure by the U.S.Congress to adopt legislation on climate, Obama's administration came to negotiations with a very weak position, and is not ready to talk any more even about the 17-% reduction in emissions, is not ready to provide finance for adaptation and emission reductions, and is not ready for a legally binding agreement. This weakens ambitions of other countries to proceed;
  • Media publish allegations that the UN process is inefficient and therefore no agreement can possibly be reached. But the problem is not with the UN, but that the governments are not willing to make commitments to reduce emissions and to finance. If the process goes to G8 or G20, it will be worse, because a number of powerful countries would shape the future climate regime, whereas in the UN negotiations each country has the floor, and decisions are reached only by general consensus.

Reducing emissions

  • New texts appeared at the negotiations of the second period of the Kyoto Protocol and the new agreement (LCA);
  • Countries can not decide where to enter the Copenhagen Accord emission reduction commitments (not all developed countries are prepared to enter their commitments to the Kyoto Protocol, Japan is against);
  • The LCA text has positive points: the reference to low-carbon development path, clarification of the filed commitments. However, there are also fundamentally bad proposals - retention of warming "at 2 oC", not "below 2 oC, low-carbon development is considered in the same way for both developed and developing countries, the procedure for evaluation of proposed commitments is weak. The year of 2015 is proposed as a year of review of how the obligations lead to retention of warming at 2 oC.


  • Nothing has been excluded from the texts, no decision has been made;
  • Discussions took place where to take into account short-term financing until 2012 promised in the Copenhagen Accord;
  • The amount of necessary funding was discussed. There are 2 options - $ 100 billion annually by 2020 or suggestion by G77 and China about 1.5% of the annual GDP of developed countries;
  • Aspects of the fund management were discussed.

MRV – Measurement, Reporting and Verification

What is MRV? In essence, this is the system for accounting how the country fulfills its obligations.

Though the issue is essentially technical, it is discussed only at the political level. The U.S. puts a condition of acceptance of significant requirements to the MRV for developing countries. Otherwise it would not be ready to provide funding. Developing countries say in response to the same requirements on accounting obligations and commitments related to the developed countries to reduce emissions as well as to provide financial assistance to developing countries.

The Kyoto Protocol

  • There is positive step in the issue of transfer of unused quotas from first commitment period: countries have agreed that the options "permission to transfer all quotas" and "no permission" are extreme ones and try to find a compromise solution. Only Russia is against any restrictions on the transfer of quotas, although it is not against to restrictions on their trading.
  • Forestry and land use change sector: it is not clear whether it is necessary to seek a decision on this issue at Cancun or not. Any decision of the existing options would be bad: it would allow developed countries to increase their emissions from the forest sector excluding these emissions.

Legal issues

There is no consent between the countries how the future climate regime should look like:

  1. Some countries advocate for the 2nd period of the KP plus a new protocol (LCA) with the obligations to the United States and developing countries.
  2. Some just offer to extend the Kyoto Protocol and to adopt a set of COP decisions. China and India are against a legally binding agreement for them.
  3. Japan strives to destroy both processes and reduce everything to one single protocol.
  4. The U.S. supports the regime of filing obligations and verification of their performance, but not a legally binding agreement.