Climate negotiations for 2011 get under way next week when the first sessions of the Ad-hoc Working Groups on the Kyoto Protocol and Long-term Cooperative Action meet in Bangkok. These negotiations come on the back of what has generally been seen as a successful round of climate negotiations in Cancun late last year.
One observer, however, remarked after Cancun that it “performed the remarkable feat of simultaneously changing nothing, and changing a great deal”. That comment came because the momentum generated by the Cancun agreements has breathed new life into the negotiations process but in reality much still remains to be done. Only if negotiations such as these in Bangkok and others during the course of the year are successful will it be possible to have any substantive outcome from the next Conference of the Parties meeting in Durban, South Africa.
The main focus of these talks will be working out how to effectively progress with the range of tasks allocated to the working groups and other bodies from the decisions taken in Cancun.
Key amongst these will be the issue of technology transfer, which is also the subject of an informal workshop before the actual negotiations get under way. Ensuring that clean technologies that support climate change mitigation and adaptation are available to developing countries will be essential to addressing global challenges relating to both climate change and sustainable development.
Technology transfer is an essential issue for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, as well as the ongoing issue of its inclusion in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Working out the details of how the technology mechanism will operate and how it will interact with the Green Climate Fund (the financial mechanism established in Cancun) is going to be an important point of discussion this year.
Both the technology and financial mechanisms will have meat put on their bones this year after the frameworks were agreed in Cancun. These two mechanisms will be an important tool for ensuring that CCS is successfully deployed in developing countries.
The WCA has already called on the Transitional Committee of the Green Climate Fund to ensure CCS is included as a key technology in these mechanisms to support the sustainable use of coal, which is the fuel of choice for many developing countries to meet their growing energy needs.
Few observers expect an all-encompassing, legally binding agreement to come out of the Durban conference later this year. But maintaining the momentum from Cancun on key issues such as finance, technology and the inclusion of CCS in the CDM will mean that systems can be established to deploy clean technologies like CCS across the globe.