UK: COP 19 – Day 5, 6 & 7 Of The Conference

Last Updated: 19 November 2013
Article by Peter Zaman, Pryderi Diebschlag and Felix Attafuah

Friday's meetings continued the trend of informal consultations and contacts groups, slowing striving towards substantive progress. The closure of the 39th SBSTA and SBI meetings, and the associated closing plenaries, provided an excellent opportunity to assess precisely how much or how little substantive progress has been achieved thus far.

As expected, Japan duly announced its intention to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 3.8% (from 2005 levels) by 2020. By comparison to Japan's earlier goal of a 25% reduction from 1990 levels by 2020, this new target allows a 3.1% increase in emissions from 1990 levels. By way of justification, Japan points to a number of recent catastrophes, including the Fukushima disaster, as the reason for the revised emissions target. In spite of the expected criticism from China and the EU, among others, UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres stated that she has "some understanding" of the problems faced by Japan, but hopes that Japan "understands that investment in renewable energies galvanizes investments and creates new jobs". Perhaps to ease its criticism, Japan also announced plans to provide around $16 billion over the next three years to help developing countries tackle climate change.

With the EU on course to meet its goal of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, there is now consideration of increasing that goal to a 40% reduction by 2030. Poland has made its opposition to such a move clear, citing its power industry, which is 90% dependent on coal.

President's Informal Stocktaking Plenary

This session was convened by COP President H.E. Korolec. In general, the various bodies (SBSTA, SBI, AWG – DP) reported that although constructive discussions and progress had been made, more time was required to consider politically sensitive issues, inter alia, the various approaches to address loss and damage associated with climate change in developing countries.

Fiji, speaking on behalf of the G-77/China; Nauru, speaking on behalf of AOSIS; and Nepal, speaking on behalf of the LDCs, all agreed on the need to deliver on 'loss and damage'.

The next stocktaking plenary convened today, 18 November 2013.


Discussions focused on how capacity building can be reflected in the new international framework agreement which is meant to come into force in 2020 (the 2015 Agreement). Capacity building focuses on enhancing the ability of individuals, organizations and institutions in developing countries, and in countries with economies in transition, to identify, plan and implement ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

While the parties generally agree on the importance of capacity building within the 2015 Agreement, and while there were calls for a working group and/or a stand-alone body on capacity building, little was actually agreed.

The usual concerns were expressed by the G-77/China (among others) as regards the lack of funding for adaptation measures, and calls were made for the establishment of a global adaptation target. The United States, Australia, Norway and the Republic of Korea stressed the technical difficulty in quantifying such a global target. Consultation is set to continue.

As regards the Technology Mechanism (which facilitates the implementation of enhanced action on technology development and transfer to support action on Mitigation and Adaptation), the parties again agreed that this will be an important building block in the 2015 Agreement.

However, disagreement raged over implementation. While developing countries stressed the need for funding, developed nations continued to call for the promotion of international technology cooperation, with the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) being critical for innovation.


The closing plenaries continued late into the night on Saturday, with the doors on the SBSTA finally snapping shut at almost 3 a.m. Sunday, and the SBI being forced to reconvene today after working until past 5 a.m. that morning. Given the late hour, it is unsurprising that some draft decisions were adopted for discussion by the COP itself; but while it is possible to see this as progress, experience suggests that these documents may only have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Prime examples are the adoption by the SBI of a text on modalities and procedures for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In essence, this document sets out an agreement to reconvene for further discussions in Bonn, in 2014. With luck, those talks will not suffer the difficulties of the equivalent 2013 talks which were derailed by Russian protests.

Positives can be seen from an agreement to prepare a technical paper for discussion in Bonn, covering the following issues, among others:

  1. CDM Executive Board – its membership, composition and potential involvement of the private sector (perhaps an unsurprising outcome given that this is the first year to involve the private sector)
  2. Liability of Designated Operational Entities (DOE) – DOEs function as independent auditors accredited by the CDM Executive Board to validate project proposals and verify whether implemented projects have achieved planned greenhouse gas emission reductions. The question arises as to who should bear liability in the situation where the DOE validates or verifies certified emission reductions for projects with deficiencies in validation, verification and certification reports.
  3. Reducing the duration of the crediting period for CERs

In some ways, the SBSTA closing plenary was more frustrating. The texts that were under discussion during the week relating to the framework for various approaches (FVA) and potential new market mechanisms (NMM) were effectively withdrawn, also pending discussion in Bonn in the 2014. A glimmer of hope for progress on this issue at the current COP does, however, remain, as the text is also now in the hands of the COP President, who may continue to debate it over the coming days.

Discussions also took place with regards to REDD+, where parties discussed a text urging developed countries and relevant international organisations to support the development and assessment of forest reference emission levels. However, the much-awaited decision on monitoring, reporting and verification of emissions reductions achieved via REDD+ projects remains outstanding.

In relation to the 2013-2015 review (which is the long-term global goal to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels), parties concluded, inter alia, that further meetings of the structured expert dialogue (established in 2012 by the COP to support the work of the SBSTA and SBI, and to ensure the scientific integrity of the review through a focused exchange of views, information and ideas) are to occur in 2014.

Discussion on the report of the Adaptation Committee (established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework) covering its work between December 2012 and October 2013, focused on the shortfall in resourcing and encouraging parties to make available sufficient resources. Agreement was reached on a text to be forwarded to the COP.


With the first week of the conference over, limited progress has been made. Parties continue with their posturing on the various issues, with division becoming clear on subjects including loss and damage, historical responsibility, mitigation, and funding for the US$100 billion target by 2020. With ministers set to arrive this week, there is likely to be increasing pressure to look forward and reach agreements of substance on the road map to Paris. Certainly, if the rumours we are hearing of today's activities are true, there will be more to report in the coming days.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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

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

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

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 or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq 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 of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions