‘Set of decisions’ on forestry, tech expected at Cancun

The Cancun summit expects to make progress in forestry Copyright: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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[NEW DELHI] Countries expect a "set of decisions" on forestry, technology, adaptation and financing at the upcoming international climate meeting in Cancun next week, which will "lay the roadmap" for a future legally binding agreement on climate change in 2011, India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh predicts.

Ramesh and other senior officials at his ministry talked about a "logjam" in the current stage of negotiations between developing and developed countries.

Developing countries expect that at least the first tranche of US$10 billion out of the total US$30 billion fast-track financing fund for adaptation, agreed upon at the previous climate summit in Copenhagen in December 2009, would be available in Cancun.

So far, there is clarity only on US$7 billion. Of this US$4 billion would be for forestry projects, Ramesh said at a media briefing organised by the Delhi-based non governmental organization Centre for Science and Environment last week (25 Nov).
But further progress on financing, or technology transfer, has been linked to emerging developing countries such as China, India and Mexico agreeing to a system of international verification of their domestic actions on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions (measuring, reporting and verifying or MRV), Ramesh said.
Developing countries argue while they are open to international verification of all mitigation project that receive international financing or technology, verification of domestically produced technologies goes "against national sovereignty". Some countries are now using the term "international consultation and analysis (ICA) instead," said CSE’s deputy director Chandra Bhushan.
"In the name of transparency (MRVs), all other negotiations are being hostage," R R Rashmi, joint secretary in India‘s environment ministry, said.
Ramesh pointed out, any eventual agreement on climate change would need to see equal measures of progress and ability to resolve differences on five key building blocks — forestry, financing, tech transfer mechanism, adaptation, transparency (MRVs).
"In the short span at Cancun, all these differences (on the five building blocks) cannot be resolved."
"The most realistic outcome will not be an agreement but a set of decisions endorsed by 193 countries, which will provide the roadmap for finalizing each of these building blocks which constitute the final agreement," he said.
Of the five blocks, the Cancun meeting is expected to make headway in two — forestry, and setting up a network of climate innovation centres on adaptation technologies as these technologies are less bogged down by IPR issues, Ramesh said.