| United Nations Climate Change Conference - Bali, 3 - 14 December 2007: Delegates rise to applaud the decision to adopt the "Bali Roadmap" for a future international agreement on climate change |
187 countries meeting in Bali, Indonesia, on Saturday agreed to launch negotiations towards a crucial and strengthened global climate change deal.
The decision includes a clear agenda for the key issues to be negotiated up to 2009. These are:
action for adapting to the negative consequences of climate change, such as droughts and floods; along with ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
ways to widely deploy climate friendly technologies and financing both adaptation and mitigation measures.
Concluding negotiations in 2009 will ensure that the new deal can enter into force by 2013, following the expiry of the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol.
"This is a real breakthrough, a real opportunity for the international community to successfully fight climate change," said Indonesian Environment Minister and President of the conference, Rachmat Witoelar. "Parties have recognised the urgency of action on climate change and have now provided the political response to what scientists have been telling us is needed," he added.
Earlier this year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a finding that if left unchecked, the world’s average temperature could rise by as much as 6 degrees centigrade by the end of the century, causing serious harm to economies, societies and ecosystems worldwide.
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said: "We now have a roadmap, we have an agenda and we have a deadline."
"But we also have a huge task ahead of us and time to reach agreement is extremely short, so we need to move quickly," he added.
While a new global deal is envisioned for 2013, countries also agreed on a number of steps that need to be taken immediately to further implement the existing commitments of Parties to the UNFCCC. These issues are particularly important for developing countries (see fact sheet detail below).
On the recurring question of whether emission reduction ranges would be included in the text on the future, de Boer acknowledged earlier that some countries such as the European Union and a number of G77 countries were in favour of including the European Union's 25%-40% target reduction range for emission cuts from the 1990 level, in the text, while others such as the United States had made clear their opposition to this idea. Any inclusion of numbers in the text, he added, would exceed his expectations for this conference.
Trying to break the US-EU deadlock on a specific target, the Bali conference president, Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar, proposed revised language dropping explicit mention of numbers while substituting a reference to a UN scientific report suggested the 25-40% range of cuts.
Witoelar's proposal provided a basis for a compromise, producing a relatively vague mandate for the two years of negotiations. As worded, the Bali roadmap will not guarantee any level of binding commitment by any nation.
US delegate Paula Dobriansky said earlier on Saturday that she had heard "many strong statements from many major developing country leaders on a greater role in helping to address urgently this global problem."
It "doesn't seem it's going to be reflected in our outcome here in the declaration," she said as her audience booed in disapproval.
The final agreement also omitted reference to a target of halving global levels of greenhouse gases by 2050 - a goal which scientists say is essential to limiting the warming to around two degrees Celsius.
The conference was attended by around eleven thousand participants, among them the Secretary-General of the United Nations and six heads of state.
|President of the Republic of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, speaking at the opening of the High-Level ministerial segment.|
Fact sheet: Individual decisions taken at Bali to further implement the existing commitments of Parties to the UNFCCC - United Nations Climate Change Convention:
Governments decided that funding for adaptation projects in developing countries, financed by the Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM), would begin under the management of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This ensures that the Adaptation Fund will become operational in an early stage of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008- 2012).
The fund is filled by means of a 2% levy on CDM projects. Currently the fund is worth about 37 million euros. Considering the amount of CDM projects in the pipeline, this figure will rapidly increase to an estimated 80- 300 million USD in the period 2008-2012. The governments could not agree on additional practical adaptation measures, such as how to integrate adaptation into national policies. This issue will be on the agenda of the next meeting of the so called Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice in Bonn in June of 2008.
The Bali Conference also made important progress on the issue of technology, one of the key concerns of developing countries. Governments agreed to kick start strategic programme to scale up the level of investment for the transfer of both the mitigation and adaptation technologies that developing countries need. The aim of that programme is to give an extra push to concrete demonstration projects, to create more attractive environments for investment, as well as to provide incentives to the private sector for technology transfer. The GEF will start setting up this programme together with international financial institutions and representatives of the private financial sector.
Parties also agreed to extend the mandate of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer for a further five years. The Expert Group has been asked to pay particular attention to the assessment of gaps and barriers to the use of, and the access to, financing resources. Furthermore, the Expert Group will start working on performance indicators that can be used to regularly monitor and evaluate progress on the development, deployment and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The work of the Expert Group provides important input into the discussions on technology transfer for the new post-2012 climate change deal.
"Reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries" (REDD) was a key issue at Bali. Parties affirmed the urgent need to take further meaningful action to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and adopted a work programme for further methodological work. That programme will focus, for example, on assessments of changes in forest cover and associated green house gas emissions, methods to demonstrate reductions of emissions from deforestation and the estimation of the amount of emission reductions from deforestation.
The decision furthermore encourages Parties to support capacity building and to undertake efforts, including demonstration activities, to address the drivers of deforestation. This is important to address the needs of local and indigenous communities who depend on forests for their livelihoods. Deforestation is regarded to be an important component of a future climate change regime beyond 2012 - in both mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Finfacts Climate Change Reports