Oxfam analysis of the Poznan Conference outcomes

“An ambitious deal in Copenhagen is still possible, and is needed more than ever.”
Published: 13 December 2008

The conference in Poznan was meant to be a key milestone between the start of negotiations in Bali last year and their conclusion at Copenhagen next year. But it has exposed a shameful lack of progress. By Poznan, developed nations (Annex 1) were meant to have submitted proposals on emissions reductions, finance and technology; they have failed to do so. They have tried to delay, shift the blame, and in the case of Canada, renege on their climate change obligations.

In contrast, many of the developing countries came to Poznan with clear proposals, a willingness to show flexibility, and, in the case of countries such as South Africa, Mexico and China, national action plans to reduce climate emissions.

An ambitious deal in Copenhagen is still possible, and is needed more than ever, but it will need far more rapid progress than over the past year. Specifically, it will need Annex 1 countries to come to the negotiations early in 2009 with far more political will and flexibility in negotiations.

The only area of progress in Poznan was on adaptation. In response to the recognition that climate change is already impacting on the lives of millions of people, the conference agreed to start up an Adaptation Fund. However, after exhaustive negotiations, the developed countries rejected the strong push for additional funds. This was condemned vehemently by developing counties, citing the urgent needs of vulnerable people suffering from a crisis they did not cause.

The following provides an overview of the Poznan negotiations and what is needed to reach Copenhagen with the required preparation and political will.

Setting the long term goal

There was no agreement on a long term goal to avoid dangerous impacts of climate change…

  • New scientific evidence shows an ambitious goal will be needed to avoid massive suffering
  • Tuvalu and other small island nations called for urgent action and a goal of below 1.5°C
  • The lack of proposals for intermediate emission reduction targets from Annex 1 countries meant that no agreement was possible

A deal in Copenhagen will need a goal to keep global warming well below 2°C…

  • Strong and ambitious proposals on the goal need be put forward as soon as possible

Emissions Reductions

Targets for emissions reductions were not agreed…

  • Instead of proposals, Annex 1 countries arrived pleading for their special circumstances
  • They tried to shift the blame through calling for cuts by developing countries
  • The IPCC has called for Annex 1 countries to make cuts of 25-40% from 1990 levels by 2020; this should have been agreed in Poznan

A deal in Copenhagen will need proposals by February and then expedited negotiations.

Adaptation Finance

Developing countries failed to push through key measures to secure more adequate funding on favorable terms…

  • In the face of bitter resistance from rich countries, an Adaptation Fund was finally agreed
  • Annex 1 countries failed to live up to their moral obligation to provide increased adaptation funding through new mechanisms, such as proceeds from auctioning emissions permits
  • At last, over a decade after negotiations started, an Adaptation Fund that is actually responsive to developing country needs has been given the go-ahead
  • This is an important step: it will help cut through red tape and ensure poor countries have a greater say in the terms under which funds are provided
  • Voluntary contributions of funds announced by Sweden and other countries are welcome, but no substitute for arrangements that guarantee adequate and predictable sources.

A deal in Copenhagen will need agreement on massively scaled up funding for adaptation.

  • The funding needs to be delivered through mechanisms under the UNFCCC (such as the Adaptation Fund), with transparency, democratic accountability and civil society involvement

Technology Transfer and Finance

There was no progress towards developing and sharing clean technology or finance…

  • Developing countries submitted new proposals in August 2008, but there has still been no constructive response from developed nations
  • A deal in Copenhagen will need proposals from Annex 1 countries by February to help developing countries to move towards a low carbon development path

Deforestation

Negotiations on avoided deforestation were held but are causing deep concern…

  • Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US opposed provisions to protect indigenous peoples’ rights

A deal in Copenhagen will need major changes to the draft agreement on deforestation…

  • The agreement will need to respect the rights of indigenous peoples, local people and communities, protect biodiversity and address the causes of deforestation


The road from Poznan to Copenhagen

Progress has been slow over the past year and little has been achieved in Poznan ….

  • The work program calls for proposals in February and a negotiating document by June
  • Heads of State will meet in September at the opening of the UN General Assembly

A deal in Copenhagen will need a step change in the level of urgency and political commitment

  • The role of the UN Secretary-General will be crucial, working with Heads of State who are committed to an ambitious agreement, including vulnerable countries
  • If there is not significant convergence in positions by March, there will need to be a Conference of the Parties around mid year, in order to finally agree the political mandate
  • Annex 1 countries must change their approach to negotiations to accept their responsibilities to move first and furthest and support efforts by developing countries
  • The aim must be to agree a full negotiated text, not merely a political declaration