This is one in a series of bulletins authored by Doug Tingey
who is in Copenhagen attending the climate change negotiations from
December 7th to 20th. Doug is Counsel to Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
(BLG) in Calgary and is a member of the firm's Corporate
Commercial Practice Group and Climate Change Focus Group. Doug
advises on business law aspects of climate change mitigation to
clients carrying on business around the world. BLG considers the
outcome of COP 15 to be critical for many Canadian businesses and
is providing these bulletins as a method of keeping clients and
friends of the firm informed during the conference.
The 15th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (COP 15) and the 5th meeting of the
Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 5) opened yesterday in
Copenhagen with urgency, optimism and resolve. The negotiating task
is daunting. COP 15/MOP 5 is intended to be the culmination of two
years of sometimes intense work that began with a roadmap agreed to
in Bali. Two ad hoc working groups were struck, one under the
UNFCCC (Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under
the Convention or AWG-LCA) and the other under the Kyoto Protocol
(Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties
under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). Initial plenary sessions have
focused on procedural matters.
According to the press release issued by the UNFCCC Secretariat
prior to the first plenary sessions "working groups starting
Monday will have six days to conclude negotiations before the
Ministerial High Level Segment starts December 16. Ministers will
then in turn have two days to take any unresolved issues forward
before the more than 100 world leaders arrive the evening of
December 17. This means a total of eight negotiating days to
prepare a workable package that consists of both immediate and
long-term components which leaders can endorse on December
18." President Obama has stated that he will attend at that
time and recent reports indicate that Stephen Harper will as
The AWG-LCA is commencing its meetings in one contact group
starting with a discussion of what type of agreement is to be
reached and how it should be adopted (it is commonly recognised
that a "protocol" is out of reach). There will of course
be intensive discussions around the key elements of the Bali
roadmap – long term vision, mitigation, adaptation,
finance and technology transfer and capacity building.
The AWG-KP is continuing discussions with several working
groups, the most contentious of which will focus on Annex 1
commitments for a second compliance period from 2012 to 2020. These
negotiations may well be superseded by the AWG-LCA discussions on
mitigation. Significant improvements to the Clean Development
Mechanism are expected as is clarity about the roll of forestry
(especially avoided deforestation) and carbon capture and
It will be a few days before it is determined whether, how and
to what degree the negotiations in the two AWGs will merge.
One of the more important topics being discussed is the
continued relationship between the UNFCCC, the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime
Organization (IMO) with regards to emissions from international
aviation and shipping. Both ICAO and IMO are of the strong view
that they should continue to be responsible for dealing with
reductions in emissions from their respective industries and are
seeking guidance from COP 15/MOP 5.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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