At this stage of the negotiations, both process and progress were hard to pin down, with discussions advancing in various formats, some open and others away from the public eye. While confusing for first timers, this is seems to be fairly usual for climate negotiations as we learnes. An informal plenary in the evening brought clarity on the magnitude of the work ahead.
Two key issues, the Global Stocktake and the Global Goal on Adaptation, never appeared on the meeting schedule. The mitigation work programme and the just transition pathways work programme were discussed in Presidency-led consultations that were open to observers, while consultations on the governance of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage were open to parties only.
Adnan Amin, COP 28 CEO, said consultations continue on Paris Agreement Article 6 and remaining finance issues. Given no agreement was reached on the mitigation work programme, he said the Co-Facilitators would hand over to the Presidency and ministerial co-facilitating pair for mitigation. On the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), he said the Subsidiary Body Chairs are preparing a draft text under the guidance of the Presidency. Consultations on decision making, and the date and venue of the 29th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 29), among others, were held and Amin said the Presidency would consider the way forward.
On the Global Stocktake (GST), Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Development and Global Climate Policy (Denmark), noted a common desire for a balanced decision covering mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation, grounded in the best available science. He noted remaining disagreements on historic, current, and future emissions in light of equity and best available science; referencing the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) and equity; unilateral trade measures; and the way forward.
On mitigation, Espen Barth Eide, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway), noted that many countries signed up for tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency, among others. He said disagreement remains on language regarding fossil fuels. Another divergence he cited is CBDR-RC and equitable transition, with some calling for transition for all with more support, and some for dividing the carbon budget.
On adaptation, Jenny McAllister, Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy (Australia), and Maisa Rojas, Minister of the Environment (Chile), said they conducted consultations with groups in parallel to continued technical discussions on the GGA. Two areas of divergence cited were means of implementation and references to the principles of the Paris Agreement and the Convention.
On finance, Yasmine Fouad, Minister of the Environment (Egypt), and Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada), reported they held bilateral meetings with groups to hear views on various finance items.
President Al Jaber stated that the Majlis will convene on Sunday, 10 December, at 3:00 pm to focus on balance across the package of decisions, including equity, mitigation, adaptation, and support. Upon conclusion of the Majlis, he will provide further guidance on the way forward to bring the conference to a successful conclusion. He noted the aim to enable the Presidency to deliver a package by Monday, 11 December.
President Al Jaber’s deadline to complete technical work by the afternoon passed without much change of pace. Delegates continued to react to new texts and huddled throughout the afternoon and evening, rather than leave sorting out specific texts to ministers. With much of the negotiations happening undercover at this point, observers were holding their breath until the informal stocktaking plenary, which started at 9:00 pm.
Despite a seemingly endless meeting, negotiators focusing on just transition pathways were not able to table new text before the stocktaking. Nonetheless, discussions there seemed to move forward constructively. The same “cannot be said on the mitigation work programme,” a long-time delegate shared, “it seems we are at a standstill.” Another delegate concurred, adding that this holds up progress on other issues, especially the GST.
Leaving plenary with mixed progress in hand, some welcomed the topic of the first “Majlis:” the balance across the decisions. Finding that political balance among mitigation, adaptation, finance, and equity could unlock the deadlocks on many of the remaining issues.
Several observers questioned whether such high-level presence really serves to accelerate progress, and, if not, whether it is tenable to continue featuring them at climate conferences.
Observers also questioned the outsized presence of fossil fuel lobbyists and the large number of participants overall. Many felt that key civil society voices were being crowded out.
Executive Secretary Stiell reiterated his commitment to ensuring the process is fit-for-purpose.
Source: IISD ENB