Delegates were left hanging in a waiting game for most of the day, as discussions were largely conducted behind closed doors. The first part of the governing bodies’ closing plenary brought only little new decisions and little relief. The new text on the Global Stocktake (GST) was met with deep concern and considered “utterly insufficient.” Many felt the text does not live up to the 1.5°C target as the “North star” of the meeting, and even goes back on ambition. Everyone was waiting for new texts to be posted on the key outstanding issues.
Showing once again how unfazed they are, negotiators working on cooperative approaches to implement the Paris Agreement (Article 6) were the only ones to continue meeting in technical level informal consultations. All other issues were being discussed behind closed doors, with various people involved, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
In the evening, the closing plenaries got under way to gavel through the decisions that were ready for adoption. As these did not constitute a real progression compared to the status at the closing of the Subsidiary Bodies, this brought little relief.
Dates and venues of future sessions: Parties adopted a decision (FCCC/CP/2023/L.4) accepting Azerbaijan’s offer to host COP 29 from Monday, 11 November, to Friday, 22 November 2024, and Brazil’s offer to host COP 30 from Monday, 10 November, to Friday, 21 November 2025.
Several reports and decisions by the SBI were adopted, while others were pushed to the provisional agendas for SBI 60 (Bonn Conference June 2024) or COP29.
Many also expressed confusion regarding the various channels through which groups and parties were reportedly being consulted. Talks were not only conducted by the Presidency and the co-facilitating ministers it appointed earlier in the week, but also UNFCCC Executive Secretary Stiell and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who had returned to Dubai. “A lot is bubbling under the surface,” summed up a seasoned delegate, “the question is when it will surface, and whether we will like it when it does.”
Reactions to the GST draft released late in the afternoon were fast and furious. Hopes that this text would include language calling for a phase out or down of fossil fuels were dashed. The text suggests instead a laundry list of actions parties “could” do, including:
· limitations on permitting new and unabated coal power generation;
· advancing abatement and removal technologies; and
· “reducing” consumption and production of fossil fuels to achieve net zero “by, before, or around 2050.”
Observers kept up the pressure. They formed a human chain to greet ministers walking towards late evening consultations of their responsibility and the lives and livelihoods at stake.
In their reactions to the text, many ministers stood equally firm. Several emphasized “We are beyond an à la carte restaurant.” Many developed and developing country ministers underscored the document falls “short, way short” of what they can accept. “We did not come here to sign our death warrant. We will not go silently to our watery graves” said ministers from small island developing states.
Source: IISD ENB