More Developments from Cophenhagen - A Draft Accord, REDD plus, and control of the Climate Fund

More Developments from Cophenhagen - A Draft Accord, REDD plus, and control of the Climate Fund

Throughout the day on 18 December press conferences have been postponed or cancelled. Throughout the day drafts of the proposed ‘Copenhagen Accord’ have emerged from behind the closed doors of the talks being run by Heads of State. The latest draft shows signs of progress.

In a clear attempt to meet the concerns of vulnerable island states and of the African bloc, the draft includes provision for a review to be completed by 2016 with a view to reducing the target limit on global temperature increase of 1.5 degrees. Until the outcome of that review, the target would be set at 2 degrees.

The draft Accord also preserves progress on ‘REDD plus’, perhaps the only substantive issue on which agreement has been reached during COP15. For many, action and funding to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation represents both a critical source of credits for the carbon market, and the most direct ‘nationally appropriate mitigation action’ for many developing countries.

Most headlines on 18 December focused on Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV). This follows Hillary Clinton’s announcement on 17 December that the proposed $100 billion annual Climate Fund would be conditional on ‘a commitment to transparency’. That requirement, and elements in President Obama’s speech to delegates, were taken as directed primarily against China.

There is, however, another key element – control of that fund. The most recent draft proposes the immediate establishment of a ‘High Level Panel under the guidance of and accountable to the Conference of the Parties’ to assess potential sources of revenue. The Climate Fund would be ‘established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention’.

With the press conference room standing empty at nearly 19.30, the plenary making its ponderous way through formal agenda items and real negotiations going on behind closed doors, the scene is set for a very long night.