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AWG-KP to focus on negotiating emission reduction commitments for Annex I Parties at Bonn Talks in June


The seventh session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) was held in Bonn, Germany, from 29 March to 8 April 2009.

At its resumed sixth session held in Poznań in December 2008, the AWG-KP agreed  to adopt conclusions on the scale of emissions reductions to be achieved by Annex I Parties in aggregate, and to reach conclusion on a draft amendment text.

Significant progress was made in the discussions on amendments to Annex B during the seventh session. The Chair tabled a non-paper as an input to start real negotiations.  Reactions by Parties to this text were presented and compiled during the session.

A mandate was given to the Chair to prepare two documents that will provide a basis for the group to intensify negotiations. These are: 

Among the main substantive and technical issues under discussion in Bonn were:

  • The scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I Parties in
    aggregate and the contribution of Annex I Parties, individually or jointly, to the scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I Parties in aggregate
  • Emissions trading and the project-based mechanisms and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)
  • Consideration of information on potential environmental, economic and social consequences, including spillover effects, of tools, policies, measures and methodologies available to Annex I Parties
  • Other methodological issues including new gases and the 2006 IPCC guidelines

Deliberations continued on the possible improvements to emissions trading and the project-based mechanisms and on the rules for the treatment of LULUCF. The AWG-KP encouraged Parties to share information before its eighth session in order to enhance understanding of the implications of the options and proposals for the treatment of LULUCF.

The AWG-KP agreed that discussion of the scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I Parties in aggregate will be a key focus of the June session.

Workshop on scale of emission reductions by Annex I Parties

A workshop on issues relating to the scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I Parties held on 27 March fed into the AWG-KP session.

A number of presentations were made by Parties during the workshop, and  leading international experts presented results from relevant technical analyses. The presentations and discussion had two main themes:

  • Approaches to identify the scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I Parties in aggregate, as well as individual or joint contributions to this scale
  • Implications of other issues, such as the duration of the commitment period(s), how quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives (QELROs) could be expressed including the base year, and mitigation potential

Several options for a level of ambition for Annex I Parties were presented and considered during the session. Under the medium-term perspective until 2020, a reduction by Annex 1 Parties of 25-40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 was acknowledged.

Some Parties expressed the view that  Annex I Parties needed to reduce their aggregate emissions by more than 40 per cent of their 1990 levels by 2020; and by more than 95 per cent by 2050, based on more recent scientific information made available since the publication of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report.   A number of Parties emphasized that any targets should be differentiated to take into account differences in national circumstances.

The year 2020 was frequently referred to as the year to be used for setting the medium-term targets. Emphasis was put on the need to ensure that there is no gap between the first and the second commitment periods.

The outcome of a joint workshop on mitigation potential, comparability of effort and sectoral approaches was presented by representatives of the EC and Japan. It was  suggested that such exchanges could be continued, with a view to supporting the decision-making process in setting ambitious and feasible medium-term targets in a transparent way.

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Workshop on potential consequences

An in-session workshop informed the discussion on potential environmental, economic and social consequences. Issues discussed included: deepening the understanding of potential consequences and assessing their causes and effects; negative and positive potential consequences; and minimizing the adverse effects of international trade and social, environmental and economic impacts on developing country Parties, including spillover effects of response measures.

Parties noted the need to focus on evidence of actual consequences. Also highlighted was the need for a full assessment of the potential impact on developing countries of the proposed post-2012 policies and measures to be implemented by Annex I Parties, as well as a full assessment of alternative policies and measures available to Annex I Parties that would minimize the impact of potential consequences.

There was general agreement that the transition to a low-carbon economy presents major opportunities and challenges for all countries. The further development and deployment of new and innovative technologies such as carbon dioxide capture and storage was suggested as one way to minimize negative potential consequences.

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AWG-LCA informed by three mitigation workshops at March Bonn Talks

The AWG-LCA held its fifth session in Bonn from 29 March to 8 April 2009.  A major focus of the discussions on mitigation was the deliberation of subparagraphs 1(b)(i) and 1(b)(ii) of the Bali Action Plan. The first relates to mitigation by developed countries and the second to nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing country Parties. Discussion of these two subparagraphs of the Bali Action Plan was the topic of one of three in-session workshops held during the session.

Debate on subparagraph 1(b)(i) of the Bali Action Plan

.With regard to mitigation by developed countries, discussions centred on:

  • The level of ambition of mitigation action by developed country Parties
  • The scope and form of nationally appropriate mitigation commitments or actions by developed country Parties
  • Comparability of efforts and national circumstances
  • Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of commitments or actions

Developed countries must take the lead through ambitious mitigation commitments or actions. Suggested figures concerning the range of ambition included more than 40 per cent, 25-40  per cent or 30 per cent  below 1990 levels by 2020. 

A common point was the importance of comparability of efforts in distinct national circumstances, using such criteria as mitigation potential, ability to pay and historical responsibility.

On MRV of commitments or actions, it was suggested to use greenhouse gas inventories and national communications submitted by Annex I Parties as tools to monitor compliance with commitments undertaken by developed country Parties.

With regard to subparagraph 1(b)(ii), the discussion covered a wide range of issues relating to nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing country Parties, including:

  • The nature and scope of NAMAs by developing countries in the context of sustainable development, and their contribution to enhanced action on mitigation in accordance with their capabilities and national circumstances
  • The scope and functions of a possible mechanism to recognize NAMAs and facilitate the matching of actions with support
  • Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of actions and support

Parties reiterated that NAMAs should support the goals of sustainable development and poverty eradication and be supported by technology, financing and capacity-building. There were diverging views on whether the nature of NAMAs should be the same for all developing countries.

It was suggested that NAMAs could be categorized into three types: unilateral actions (those funded out of own resources); actions funded by developed countries through the Convention; and actions credited through the carbon market.

There was great interest in the concept of some kind of mechanism to register nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing countries and to match them with financial support.

On MRV of actions by developing countries and support for those actions, some Parties suggested that it is the outcomes of NAMAs that need to be measured and reported and that NAMAs which receive outside support should be verified at the international level.

REDD issues

The importance of reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD) in the context of mitigation actions by developing countries was underlined. Several elements were highlighted regarding what is needed to implement REDD,  including robust methodologies and monitoring systems to assess emission reductions achieved, supported by a transparent and effective institutional arrangement.

Economic and social consequences of response measures

The debate on mitigation was also informed by a workshop on economic and social consequences of response measures. The need to better understand and assess the consequences of response measures was highlighted, and Parties discussed the idea of establishing a forum to facilitate the exchange of information.

Mitigation in the agricultural sector

With regard to opportunities and challenges for mitigation in the agricultural sector - the subject of a third in-session workshop - several Parties stressed the importance of including agriculture in the mitigation actions to be enhanced by an agreed outcome in Copenhagen, mainly through NAMAs in developing countries.

UNFCCC emissions data available on Google maps

The secretariat has cooperated with Google to present greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data in a visual way using Google maps. On the maps, GHG emissions can be displayed in three "layers": emissions; changes in emissions between the base year and the latest available year (2006 at present); and changes between 1990 and the latest available year.

Information is provided for all sectors (such as energy, agriculture, etc) and for the major sub-sectors (such as transport within the energy sector). By gas, the data cover aggregate GHGs, CO2, CH4, N2O, SF6, HFCs and PFCs. Only data relating to Annex I Parties are provided.

The maps will be available in June on the UNFCCC website: as part of the UNFCCC GHG data interface.

UNFCCC emissions data available on Google maps

Review expert  training courses

Why enroll?

Any international treaty, including the climate change Convention, only serves its purpose if it is being properly implemented. This is especially true for the Kyoto Protocol, as it contains very specific quantitative targets. Proper monitoring is essential for the effective implementation of the Convention and the Protocol. In response to this, a special, highly transparent system was created involving international experts nominated by their Government, serving in their own personal capacity, who check how Parties to the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol implement their commitments.

Participation in those review teams ensures that the implementation of commitments is reviewed in a consistent and reliable way. Those experts from developed and developing countries not only ‘audit’ policies and measures, or estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also gain invaluable experience for their own work in their home countries, including the exchange with international experts working in similar fields and capacity-building.

The growing scope of reviews and demands has created the need for an increased pool of experts.

Ongoing training activities

60 new review experts, nominated by their Governments, will participate in this year’s two instructed training courses.  An instructed training course under the Convention is ongoing (started on 15 May) and will last one and a half months. A further course is planned for August—October this year. The trainees go through the materials online with an instructor who provides guidance and support during this period. At the end of the instructed course, the trainees participate in a three-day seminar, during which they consolidate their knowledge by going through a complete review exercise using real GHG inventory materials. The trainees also take the exams during the seminar.

What we need from you

Experts need first to be nominated to the roster of experts and fill out the nomination form which must be signed by the national focal point. For further information on this process, click here.
They will then have access to the training courses under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. Passing exams of the UNFCCC training courses is mandatory to be eligible as review expert. An inventory background is desirable and we are accepting trainee applications now. Enthusiasm, dedication and a solid command of the English language are a must.

For general information on the training programme, click here.

Expert meeting on reference emission levels for REDD

Reference emissions levels are needed in order to implement any mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation in developing countries (REDD). The expert meeting on reference emission levels, held on 23-24 March in Bonn, Germany, enhanced understanding of methodological issues related to establishing reference emission levels for deforestation and forest degradation, as well as reference levels for the conservation and sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Forty-five experts representing Parties, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations attended the meeting. Several experts made presentations on ongoing work relating to approaches and methodologies for establishing reference emission levels. All presentations can be accessed here.

In-depth discussions covered issues relating to:

  • Approaches for establishing reference emission levels and reference levels (e.g. historical approach, projections)
  • Applicability of different approaches to different national circumstances
  • Data availability/ sources and data quality
  • Tools, techniques and methodologies required and available, and their cost-effectiveness.

Experts also identified capacity-building issues and needs - both technical and institutional - and the research and development needs to improve data collection and quality.

The secretariat has prepared a report on the outcomes of this expert meeting. These outcomes are expected to facilitate Parties’ consideration of outstanding methodological issues relating to REDD at the June Bonn Talks.

Read full report