The fourth meeting at the Leaders’ representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate met in Washington, DC, September 17-18, 2009. It was attended by officials from seventeen major economies, as well as the United Nations and Denmark.
Participants agreed that the Forum continues to provide a useful opportunity to discuss key issues, explore new ideas, and identify points of shared understandings, as a contribution to the preparations for the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009. There was wide interest in focusing on matters where discussions could help advance toward a convergence of views in Copenhagen. Participants continued their robust exchange of views on adaptation, mitigation, measuring, reporting, and verification, and technology at the session.
Participants recognized the urgency of adaptation and noted the need for a sharper focus on this issue. Participants agreed that, while adaptation actions need to be domestically driven, many of those most impacted by climate change also have the least ability to respond. The group also discussed the importance of observations and early warning systems as tools for adaptation, and the need to significantly scale up funding in the near term.
The participants explored in detail various purposes and means of reflecting national actions internationally in the Copenhagen outcome. They recognized that creative ideas are needed and that the final agreement may be a hybrid of different approaches. Australia explained its “schedules” proposal as flexible and compatible with other approaches, and in which all countries could reflect their targets, pathways, or actions. The Republic of Korea shared its “registries” proposal designed to provide international recognition for unilateral domestically binding actions, and serve as a tool for measuring, reporting, and verifying actions.
Measuring, reporting and verifying (MRV) actions and support was highlighted as an instrument for encouraging action and building trust, as it provides transparency, credibility, and the ability to learn from each other. The concept of expert teams and peer reviews was raised, as well as the importance of full information to ensure the world is on the right trajectory. The importance of enhancing capacity to enable appropriate MRV actions and of building on existing systems was highlighted. There was discussion about the range of actions to which MRV would apply.
The group received a status report on the technology action plans requested by MEF Leaders and was pleased to learn that the work is making solid progress and active collaboration among MEF countries is already underway. Participants discussed opportunities to advance technology cooperation, with many expressing the view that such efforts are both an essential element of an agreement in Copenhagen and for achieving low-carbon growth. Participants also discussed how to enhance global R&D cooperation and technology transfer, the potential for new mechanisms to build capacity and enhance expertise in developing countries and the need to address adaptation and energy poverty.