Australia: Doha: from a platform to a gateway: the achievements of COP18

Last Updated: 12 December 2012
Article by Brendan Bateman

In true UNFCCC fashion, it was left until well after the scheduled close of the climate change conference in Doha to fashion an agreement to progress international efforts and negotiations to address climate change. This time, COP18 has continued the relatively positive progress of Durban and avoided a repeat of the crisis in Copenhagen.

In many respects, the Conference of the Parties No. 18 to the UNFCCC (COP18) and Meeting of the Parties No. 8 to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP8) held in Doha, Qatar, was a critical juncture for the success or otherwise of international climate change negotiations.

Firstly, the mandate for the Ad Hoc Working Group for Long Term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA) was ending. Secondly, the first commitment period under the only legally binding agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, was expiring with no sign that a second period was going to emerge. Thirdly, elements of the Bali Road Map established at COP14 in 2007, required conclusion, principally in relation to delivering on commitments to finance for developing countries.

In addition, there was a perceived need to ensure that the Ad Hoc Working Group for Enhanced Action, established at COP17 in Durban in 2011 as part of the Durban Platform (ADP), showed measurable progress in order to realise the ambition of a new legally binding agreement by 2015 for emissions reductions by all countries, not just developed countries.

As is usual, negotiations at the conference were slow, with criticism and frustrations quickly emerging. Finance, and commitment from developed nations to provide it, emerged as the big issue. Negotiations became more frantic and lasted later into the night as the scheduled deadline for the conference drew near.

Late on the evening of Saturday 8 December, some 24 hours after the conference was scheduled to close, there was announced the "Doha Climate Gateway". The key elements of the Gateway included:

Amending the Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was amended to extend into a second commitment period starting from 1 January 2013, and running for eight years until 2020, at about the time the proposed new legally binding agreement being negotiated under the ADP will come into force. All developed countries that have accepted targets in the second commitment period will continue to have access to those mechanisms. While those countries only account for 14% of international emissions, the extension of the Kyoto Protocol preserves the institutions, the market mechanisms (such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation and emissions trading), as well as valuable accounting rules and methodologies created under it.

Countries that are taking on further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol have agreed to review their emission reduction commitments at the latest by 2014, with a view to increasing their respective levels of ambition. Australia, the EU, Japan, Lichtenstein, Norway, Monaco and Switzerland have declared that they will not carry over any surplus emissions trading credits (Assigned Amounts) into the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

An agreed timetable to negotiate the 2015 global climate change agreement

This will involve a significant number of meetings and workshops to be held in 2013 to prepare the new agreement and to explore further ways to raise ambition. Further, in order to avoid a repeat of previous COP experiences, it was agreed that elements of a negotiating text are to be available no later than the end of 2014, so that a draft negotiating text is available before May 2015, well in advance of COP21 that year. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also announced he would convene a meeting of world leaders in 2014 to ensure the 2015 deadline is met.

Financial and technological infrastructure agreement

Agreement was reached on the implementation of new infrastructure to channel technology and finance to developing nations. Most importantly, the conference:

  • endorsed the selection of the Republic of Korea as the location of the Green Climate Fund and the work plan of the Standing Committee on Finance. The Green Climate Fund is expected to launch activities in 2014; and
  • confirmed a UNEP-led consortium as host of the Climate Technology Centre (CTC), for an initial term of five years, and agreed the constitution of the CTC advisory board.

A renewed commitment to long-term climate finance

Developed countries have reiterated their commitment to deliver on promises to continue long-term climate finance support to developing nations, with a view to mobilizing US$100 billion both for adaptation and mitigation by 2020. The Doha agreement also encourages developed countries to increase efforts to provide finance between 2013-15. This is to ensure there is no gap in continued finance support while efforts are otherwise scaled up.

Germany, the UK, France, Denmark, Sweden and the EU Commission announced concrete finance pledges in Doha for the period up to 2015, totalling approximately US$6 billion.

New market mechanisms

A work programme has been agreed to further elaborate the new market-based mechanism included as part of the Durban Platform. Additionally, a work programme to develop a framework for recognizing mechanisms established outside the UNFCCC process, such as nationally-administered or bilateral offset programmes (such as Japan's bilateral offset program), and to consider their role in helping countries to meet their mitigation targets, was also been agreed.

To address concerns that the UNFCCC process had lost the necessary sense of urgency to respond the dangers of climate change, a number of other measures were agreed at Doha, including:

  • a review of the long-term temperature goal. This will start in 2013 and conclude by 2015, and is intended to be a reality check on the advance of the climate change threat and the possible need to take further action;
  • establishing institutional arrangements to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in particularly vulnerable countries;
  • ways to implement National Adaptation Plans for least developed countries, including linking funding and other support;
  • establishing a registry to record developing country mitigation actions that seek recognition or financial support; and
  • a new work programme to build capacity through climate change education and training, create public awareness and enable the public to participate in climate change decision-making. This is seen as important to create support for a new climate change regime after 2020.

Although the outcome from Doha has been described as modest, COP18 has successfully resolved a number of critical elements of the UNFCCC's process. The work of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP is now concluded, which means that future negotiations will be streamlined under the single ADP process established at Durban.

Connie Hedegaard, the European Commissioner for Climate Action, described the agreement at Doha as having "crossed a bridge" between the old regime and the ambition of 2015. While the work required to finalise a new legally binding agreement by 2015 cannot be under-estimated, the achievement of COP18 in amending and extending the Kyoto Protocol, is likely to prove to be of significant benefit to the work of the ADP by providing a degree of confidence around institutional arrangements, market based mechanisms, accounting rules and methodologies that will provide some of the architecture for that future agreement.

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin. Persons listed may not be admitted in all states and territories.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Brendan Bateman
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
Accounting and Audit
Anti-trust/Competition Law
Consumer Protection
Corporate/Commercial Law
Criminal Law
Employment and HR
Energy and Natural Resources
Environment
Family and Matrimonial
Finance and Banking
Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences
Government, Public Sector
Immigration
Insolvency/Bankruptcy, Re-structuring
Insurance
Intellectual Property
International Law
Law Practice Management
Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration
Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
Privacy
Real Estate and Construction
Strategy
Tax
Transport
Wealth Management
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.