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29.11.2011: INES 20th Anniversary

COP18 results, an analysis from the International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE)

We were a group of INFORSE coordinators that followed the climate COP18 in Doha, Qatar. Hereby a summary of the main results of the negotiations, and some comments from our side.

In brief, the COP18 opens new doors for climate action, but it is not the breakthrough that we need to keep global warming to sustainable levels (global warming not above 1.5 - 2'C).


  • A second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, 2013-2020, with loopholes that allow carry over of unused emissions credits from the first period, but with strict limits to the use of this "hot Air".
  • A call for Kyoto Protocol countries to review their emissions reduction targets by 2014 at the latest. While there is no guarantees of increased ambition in the review, this decision gives a moral obligation for these countries to increase their emission reduction targets before 2020 and provides opportunities for them to do so in the climate negotiations.
  • A finance decision that failed to put any firm funding on the table or to ensure a pathway to the $100 billion a year by 2020 target. For the short term it just encourages developed countries to maintain funding at existing levels.
  • Start of a Climate Technology Center and Network, hosted by UNEP
  • An agreed work program on loss and damage to help victims of climate change will start immediately and a decision "to establish institutional arrangement, such as an international mechanism, at COP19" (in 2013). This will allow the victims to get a part of the climate financing as compensation, within the agreed climate financing target of 100 bill $ by 2020.

The Kyoto Protocols' second phase was adopted to cover the period 2013-2020 with reduction targets for European countries and Australia. Unfortunately the reduction targets are not ambitious, e.g. EU only committed to reduce 20% 1990-2020, a target the countries almost have reached today. Another problem is that the countries with reduction targets only emit 1/7 of the global man-made greenhouse gases (if Russia joins it will be more, but still only a small part of global emissions will be included).

A stumbling block in the negotiations was unused emission quotas (called AAUs) from the first period of the Kyoto protocol. Poland and some other countries want to transfer their AAU's to the second period. A compromise was made, so Poland and other could keep their AAU's, but not sell them in the coming period. Credits from CDM projects can be carried over to the second period and can be used to replace national reductions. Unfortunately also the bad CDM projects with no real effect on the global climate (such as CDM from Chinese F-gas production) can still be included, both from new and existing projects.

The limited reductions committed in the second period of the Kyoto Protocol will not lead to the reductions we need to stop global emission growth by 2015, and start reductions afterwards. In response to this, the countries agreed a review of commitments of countries in the Kyoto Protocol, where they will propose new, hopefully more ambitious emission targets in 2014. The new targets should be in line with the finding that developed countries should reduce in the 25-40% range 1990 -2020 to keep global warming below 2'C.

Much more action is needed, from the countries in the Kyoto protocol, but not the least from major emitters outside the Kyoto Protocol, including USA, Canada, and China.

The decisions on finance were very weak. With the fast-start financing of 10 bill $/year ending in 2012 and the agreement of 100 bill. $ in 2020, a gradual increase from the 10 bill $/year could be expected, but this did not happen. Instead the countries decided to continue to discuss the issue. There was a decision to ask for submissions from governments on long term finance pathways, and a decision to call for public funds for adaptation without the mention of a figure. In addition the COP18 encouraged industrialised countries to continue financing after 2012 at existing levels.

The Green Climate Fund came a bit closer to be operational but still have the problem that very few countries have promised contributions to the fund, and even more problematic: more permanent funding for the fund has not been agreed. such as funding for an international climate levy on aviation and/or shipping,

Negotiations continued on a climate levy or similar on aviation and international shipping, but the involvement of international shipping and aviation organisations (IMO and ICAO) is difficult. EU has postponed its emission trading scheme for aviation from 2013 to 2014, which took off some of the pressure on the sector to agree to an international scheme.

Several countries, primarily Northern European countries, pledged continued climate financing for the coming one or two years, on a higher level than in the period 2010-2012. This is, after all, a positive sign.

One practical decision of COP18 was a go ahead of the Climate Technology Center and Network, that shall assist developing countries to get technologies for climate mitigation and adaptation, including the sustainable energy solutions that we promote in INFORSE. The center will be hosted by UNEP together that will work with a network of 12 technology-transfer centers, including ENDA in Senegal, TERI in India, the UNEO-Risoe center in Denmark, and Fundation Bariloche in Argentina. The center is expected to be operational in the first half of 2012, but COP19 in 2013 will decide details of the further work. The center will have an advisory board with 16 country representatives, and representatives of environmental NGOs, the scientific community and business. INFORSE is in close contact with Climate Action Network, and will follow the work via the Environmental NGO representative.

All in all there is need for a lot of additional action to reduce climate change. The COP's are not enough.

More information: inforse.org/

UN Climate Convention: http://unfccc.int/2860.php

Climate Action Network: http://www.climatenetwork.org/press-release/no-oasis-climate-doha-desert