Describing progress so far, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer, said that things are “looking good.” He pointed to the first meeting this afternoon of the contact group, an initiative of Conference President Rachmat Witoelar, which will discuss ways of reaching a future climate change agreement and how this agreement should be structured. In this context, De Boer stressed once again that the Bali Conference will not finalize a post-2012 climate deal, but can “put in place a two-year process to work towards such a deal.”
While there is major focus at the Conference on the future, De Boer highlighted the importance of maintaining a balance between future and current issues. He underlined the need not only to look at creating a long-term climate change regime, but also to pay attention to the problems facing many countries today. One of the key issues for developing countries is technology, and de Boer confirmed that the conference body on implementation, the SBI, has now begun discussing ways to implement the transfer of technology to developing countries.A major focus of the briefing was on adaptation to climate change – an issue of increasing importance and urgency given the already visible as well as projected effects of climate change which are making adaptation inevitable even under the most optimistic scenarios.
De Boer referred to wide-ranging impacts throughout the world, which include rising sea-levels, river flooding and increased exposure to water stress. He stated that help must be given to all developing countries to identify what adaptation action they need to take, and that this must be integrated into long-term development planning to make it sustainable.
“Governments here in Bali have indicated clearly that the time for concrete action has come,” he said, and that failing to take action would amount to “a direct attack on the poor,” since it is the world’s poor who are the most vulnerable to climate change due to a lack of resources to adapt. He added that to carry out this action will require increased financial resources.
“In response to strong criticism of the lack of resources for adaption, De Boer pointed to the significant potential of the Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund, which is a self-financing mechanism. Funds generated by the levy on the CDM already amount to $36 million, rising to $80-300 million per year in the period 2008-2012 if projects still in the pipeline are taken into account. Should there be a high demand for carbon credits under a post-2012 deal, this figure could further increase to $1-5 billion a year. This is significant, he added, in that it avoids diverting vital development funding towards adaption.
Governments have called for the Adaptation Fund to become operational under the Kyoto Protocol here in Bali, and for the need to secure access to the Fund on the part of developing countries.
In the separate issue of resources to fight deforestation, De Boer dispelled rumors that governments have agreed to set up a global fund for this purpose in the context of these negotiations.
First discussions have also been held on carbon capture and storage in geological formations. While strong interest has been expressed in this technology and in including it under the Clean Development Mechanism, De Boer said that no decision will be taken at the Conference on this issue.