|A complete coverage of the question and answer session that took place after the presentations by experts from Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Australia and France on behalf of the European Community and its member States, can be found at <unfccc.int>
The issues raised during the discussion included equity in the international climate change process, technology transfer and opportunities to accelerate it, a proposal to develop an optional protocol on deforestation, national experiences relating to the clean development mechanism, complexity of the flexibility mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol, roles of developed and developing countries in the climate change process, need for adaptation to climate change to become localized, funding for adaptation, international cooperation, importance of avoiding the “lock-in” effect when making investments, and importance of certainty for investors.
Several participants expressed the view that the CDM is complex and inflexible and that the rules for flexibility mechanisms under the Marrakesh Accords need to be simpler and reformed for the post-2012 period by introducing more flexibility in terms of additionality and removing current obstacles. Others observed that the CDM has only just started and time is needed to assess it, recognizing that some of the difficulties arise from the fact that there are now many methodologies under discussion; after a sufficient number of methodologies have been approved, the CDM should function more efficiently and attract investors.
One participant pointed out that there is a general misunderstanding of the CDM, and reiterated that the process should not lose sight of the fact that it was conceived as a tool for achieving sustainable development in a climate-friendly manner. It was also observed that the CDM was designed as an opportunity with enormous development potential; for this reason it is a vital mechanism for developing countries, and if it is to work well, funding for CDM projects needs to be strengthened. One solution to address the problems highlighted on the CDM was to work with specific economic sectors where baselines can be defined at the outset.
On the issue of technology transfer some experts raised the question of identifying advantages resulting from being a Party to the Kyoto Protocol in terms of investment decisions. Others asked how the involvement of private actors in technology transfer could be improved. The investment challenge and the importance of certainty were also addressed. It was emphasized that huge investments are expected, for example in the energy sector of countries such as China, but it is important to avoid “lock-in” investments and ready-made solutions, because the diffusion of best technologies invariably depends on national circumstances.
The need to localize adaptation was emphasized; finding innovative ways to fund adaptation was suggested as an important issue to be addressed. One expert noted that Australia is implementing a multi-billion dollar assistance programme for small island States.
Equity issues were also raised with regard to what level of infrastructure was needed to reach an acceptable level of development, as some participants felt that the needs of developing countries are sometimes marginalized or ignored. One expert suggested that more international cooperation is needed where developed countries are viewed as partners. It was suggested that further differentiation is needed among developing countries, and that the divide between developed and developing countries should not be allowed to continue. To this end an expert proposed that, in the light of the huge differences among developing countries, there should be efforts to further differentiation among them in any future dialogue on climate change. It was also proposed that a discussion is needed on how the UNFCCC process could contribute to increasing national capacities.
On the way forward and how to work together in addressing climate change, support was expressed for consideration of a proposal by one of the experts on avoiding emissions from deforestation. Some clarification was requested on the special role for deforestation vis-à-vis afforestation and reforestation, and whether the proposal included a change to the Marrakech Accords to include developing countries in Annex B for the matters relating to deforestation. An expert clarified that the proposal on an additional protocol on deforestation was not new and had been rejected in earlier negotiations, but that it needs to be revisited in discussions on the way forward.
Some participants underscored the commitment of their countries to engage in a discussion of a future regime, whereas others noted that participation of all is needed in such a discussion, taking into account the respective financial and human capacities and national circumstances of countries. One participant gave full support to the idea of discussing the issue of equity in terms of per capita emissions and welcomed the “the 1 tonne challenge” proposed by one of the experts. There was also a suggestion to make data on emissions by Annex I countries available on the UNFCCC web site.
In discussing the future, experts expressed the view that the CDM, technology development and deployment, and adaptation should form part of a future climate change regime, recognizing that domestic action in developing countries was important. At the same time it was noted that there is no single response to the development challenge and that development is needed, populations should have the right of access to energy and that carbon mitigation can benefit development. For these reasons one expert suggested that it was important to find the right questions and work on them in Montreal.