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Climate Change Conference in Poznan

A Milestone on the Way to a Post-2012 Climate Change Agreement

December 2008 - Having agreed the Bali Action Plan in 2007, delegates at this year’s Climate Change Conference worked along the roadmap for negotiations on the post-2012 climate change agreement as agreed in Bali. The first Kyoto Protocol commitment period expires in 2012 and ratification of a post-2012 agreement will take at least three years. It is thus vital that an ambitious, robust agreement on the post-2012 regime be reached by the end of 2009. The Poznan meeting was thus a key milestone on the road to securing an agreement at COP 15 in Copenhagen in December 2009.

CDM in Poznan: Debate on the Future of the Kyoto Mechanisms Postponed – Incremental Improvements Made

While the CDM advances apace, many question its environmental integrity. A range of studies and media reports have shown that the CDM Executive Board (EB) has approved a large number of non-additional projects. The criticism is directed both at the procedure and at the work performed by the Designated Operational Entities (DOEs). At its last meeting of the year, just ahead of the CMP, the EB suspended a DOE (Det Norske Veritas) from its duties – a decision that shocked the carbon market.

The Role of the CDM in the Post-2012 Regime

The negotiations held in 2008 on the future of the climate regime led to a long list of options as to how the flexible mechanisms might be advanced after 2012. These ranged from integrating carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear energy into the CDM, to sectoral approaches and benchmarking, to discounting CERs and differentiating between host countries. The focus in Poznan, however, was placed on procedural issues. Advancing the CDM was not on the agenda. It has instead been included in the programme of work for 2009 and will be addressed in Bonn this coming March.

Advancing the CDM in its Present Form

The Conference of the Parties assigned the CDM Executive Board (EB) a number of tasks. The EB was instructed to speed up its procedure and emphasise its executive role, for example by making effective use of its support structures (panels, external experts and the Secretariat). The CMP also wants the EB to make its decisions more transparent and consistent, and improve how it communicates with project participants. These areas attracted much criticism in the past, especially from project developers.

The expectations as regards improving the mechanisms’ environmental integrity rest, among other things, on the Validation and Verification Manual (VVM) adopted by the EB in 2008. The CMP asked the EB to update the VVM on a regular basis and to take measures to bring about its implementation. The CMP also instructed the EB to develop and implement a system to monitor DOEs on an ongoing basis and to publish statistics on DOE performance on its website.

Much of the criticism aired refers to the subjectivity of the current project evaluation procedure. The CMP thus requested the EB to provide for more objectivity in the procedure used to prove additionality. As in previous years, no agreement was reached in the debate on integrating carbon capture and storage (CCS) into the CDM. The CMP asked the EB to assess the implications of integrating CCS into the CDM and to report its findings at CMP 5.

Geographical Distribution of Projects

Another controversial point focused on the geographical distribution of CDM projects. Backed by the EU, a proposal was put forward by African nations and least developed countries (LDCs) asking that:

  • The registration process be simplified for countries that are significantly under-represented.
  • The EB promote the development of methodologies suitable for use in such countries.
  • Governments promote the development of projects in such countries.

Finally, in response to pressure from a number of countries, the geographical focus was removed from the agenda item on methodology development. However, the text referring to a simplified procedure and project promotion still contains a reference to LDCs, small island states and Africa.

JI Decisions

With the regard to JI, the CMP took receipt of the Joint Implementation Supervisory Committee report. JI projects have only been eligible for approval since 2008, meaning that the mechanism is still in its teething stages. The CMP thus refrained from adopting any overarching decisions. It did, however, call upon the Parties to provide additional contributions to fund the JISC, whose budget shows a worrying deficit of almost US$ 2 million.

BMU Side Event on Programmes of Activities

On 11 December, the German Environment Ministry (BMU) and KfW Banking Group held a joint side event on Programmes of Activities (PoAs). Among other things, KfW presented its PoA Support Centre Germany, which is designed to promote the use of programmes of activities (Programmatic CDM and JI) worldwide.

An analysis of the CDM/JI-related results of the Poznan conference will be published in JIKO Info Newsletter No. 01/2009, which will also contain a report on the EU Climate and Energy Package adopted during the conference.