Here are the countries and actors that can improve the most in the climate negotiations last, critical days.
Saudi Arabia and OPEC
Problem: Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries that base their economy on oil, are skeptical of an ambitious agreement that reduces the usage of fossil fuels; Saudi Arabia is even asking for compensation for loss of future income. According to the Kyoto Protocol, many oil states hve no formal commitment to reduce their emissions and are pitted against a more sliding burden sharing.
Solution: A partial solution is the solar energy and perhaps the production of aquatic biomass such as algae – on land. Qatar has already embraced this with the argument; “we have the sun, heat and space requirements.” It’s probably also important to have financial mechanisms enabling these countries to implement part of their emission reductions elsewhere.
Problem: India’s climate impact is expected to peak in 2040 rather than 2030, as the population and economy are growing, and coal account for a large part of the energy mix. An agreement with strong emissions reduction pledges may face difficulties in finding Indian support.
Solution: The ”Shared but Differentiated” design is crucial, as well as how large and how concrete promises on climate financing will be. India also has interest in getting other countries to invest in their very comprehensive solar applications.
ALBA: Venezuela, Nicaragua
These countries are not obvious opponent of a far-reaching agreements, but are critical of how the conferences are held and agreements reached. Often they hold inflammatory speeches in the plenary, often receiving applause from civil society actors for this – but are sometimes more constructive than we give them credit for.
Solution: Ensure a good representation and great openness of the process – which is not easy because tough bargains may require negotiators ti close the door behind them.
Poland’s new government is pro-coal, the prime minister is the daughter of a coal miner and Poland have indicated that they will defend their own coal interests in the negotiations. They are still backing the EU’s negotiating position, which was adopted in September, but if a new route quickly has to be developed anddopted at the end of the negotiations, Poland can be problematic.
Solution: The EU must find a way to better deal with Poland because these dynamics occur in every climate negotiations – even when the COP was held in Warsaw. There should be some kind of link between the EU’s various forms of support to member states and to climate performance.
IMO and ICAO
The climate treaty now under discussion, and the INDCs presented by the member states, do not include international shipping and aviation – and so the UN agencies for international sea and air would like it to remain. They have not proposed much in terms of concrete climate commitments in the near term, much less that they should be part of a climate agreement, although both sectors climate impact is thought to increase over time when prosperity and trade increase.
Solution: Especially in shipping, but also in aviation, more and more organizations want to be part of the solution, and see financial opportunities in this – even the IMO itself demonstrates the potential for a 70% reduction in emissions. But to make this binding needs consensus, which may not be possible as long as greener shipping is seen as expensive and a threat to trade.
I am sure that others will think that the EU has the greatest potential for improvement – they’ve not done enough in terms of becoming a role model for others and have no clear, united plan for climate financing. Others again will find other actors that are underperforming. But this is my list – what does yours look like?