The second week of climate negotiations in Durban kicked off

Olga Senova, Ekaterina Uspenskaya

A new LCA draft text has just appeared. It should lay ground for the final resulting document of the conference. Russia received the Fossil of the Day for the willing to save up its emissions quotas for the future but for being against Kyoto2 at the same time.

On Saturday AWG-LCA presented a 134-pager which is supposed to lay ground for the final document of the conference and provide a complete, effective and sustainable implementation of the Convention based on long-term common actions before and after 2012.
According to countries’ presentations at the plenary session, there are still many countries that are not satisfied with it. First of all, because of the lack of balance between the necessary measures stated in the document and finance and technology that can make it happen. Many developing countries feel like their interests have not been taken into account.

Switzerland said that here we must reach an agreement on the how and when each country will reach its peak emissions.

One could hear totally contradicting statements concerning Kyoto2, ranging from “KP2 has reached its deadend and there’s no way forward” to “there are only a few technical details to be clarified before we sign Kyoto2”.

It was emphasized that for the survival of small and especially island states it is crucial not to allow temperature growth of more than 1,5 degrees by 2050 compared to the preindustrial period. We have to conduct a scientific assessment of the latest climate trends and its consequences as soon as possible to be able to review global goals in 2015.

Russia’s representative did not say anything particular on that subject and just repeated his own words that the document is unbalanced and more attention should be paid to the contents and not to the form.

There was almost a consensus on that the document should be thoroughly worked on, but it should be ready by the ministerial session on Wednesday. But even in case of a successful preparation there is uncertainty as for the legal status of the plans mentioned there and recommendations for countries and international structures.

There are talks that the negotiations may result in a so-called Durban Mandate, but it may become non-binding as well as the outcomes of the previous COPs.

Russia’s first Fossil of the Day award

This week international observers paid close attention to the inconsistent and highly controversial position of Russia at the current negotiations and awarded our country with the Fossil of the Day. Russia shared the first place with New Zealand for the willing to benefit from Kyoto mechanisms while not wanting to take any commitments upon. Russia was criticized for the resistance to Kyoto2 and for the simultaneous willing to move its own hot air to the second commitment period. The logic of such a position was hard for anyone to grasp. We hope that this was not the last time that Russia received the award, since many things that Russia is doing are still beyond NGOs looking glass, such as lobbying of nuclear and gas and oil projects, even as part of JI, as well as the resistance to put a carbon tax on air carriers.

Saudi Arabia got the second place for a weird phrase that “maybe we do not need mitigation”. They still keep on standing in favor of response measures (which for them may mean compensations to oil producers), and claim it to be as important as global emissions reduction.

The US got the 3rd place for the lack of any significant action at the negotiations, as before and for the lack of real action after Obama came into power.