The eighth Meeting at the Leaders’ representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate took place in New York City, September 20 - 21, 2010. It was attended by officials from the seventeen major economies, as well as the United Nations, with Barbados, Denmark, Egypt, Singapore, and Spain also participating in the session. Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Grenada, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen were invited but unable to attend. Participants discussed how to advance prospects for a successful outcome at the climate negotiations in Cancun.
Mexican Foreign Secretary Espinosa, the incoming COP President, emphasized in her opening remarks the importance of success in Cancun for the credibility of the multilateral system. She pressed participants to agree on a balanced package of decisions in Cancun, recognizing that it will not be possible to agree on all of the details there.
Participants agreed on the importance of making progress in Cancun and expressed concern about the pace of negotiations. Support was expressed for concluding a balanced package of decisions in Cancun, potentially including adaptation, mitigation/REDD+, MRV/ICA, finance, and technology, recognizing that there are different views about exactly what constitutes “balance.” With respect to the breadth and depth of decisions, many suggested that they should be “comprehensive but not necessarily exhaustive.” It was also noted that, for more difficult issues, Cancun might decide on the follow-up work to be undertaken issue-by-issue. In general, it was considered that, in order to maintain political balance, issues should make progress at the same pace. Some recalled the “Grand Bargain” reached among Leaders in the Copenhagen Accord and the importance of reflecting such a bargain in decisions.
Participants considered whether plurilateral approaches might be viable, recalling that they are used in other multilateral fora. It was noted that plurilateral approaches might, e.g., implement an existing multilateral agreement, or feed into multilateral negotiations. The issue could be further discussed.
There was also discussion of individual issues. For example, the importance of providing Fast Start finance (per the Copenhagen Accord) in a transparent fashion was emphasized. MRV and ICA were discussed, including the need for a “multilateral anchor” for ICA procedures. Formalization of Copenhagen mitigation pledges was also discussed. There was support for making progress on REDD+, starting with readiness activities, including by advancing the REDD+ partnership.
Regarding work following Cancun, many expressed the view that existing mandates are sufficient for carrying work forward and that it would be inadvisable to develop new mandates, including because it would take up too much of the Cancun meeting. One idea was for each individual decision, while being as ambitious as possible, to identify additional elements for follow-up.
In terms of the Kyoto Protocol, participants discussed various options. Views were divided. Some participants attached great importance to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, including for its “rule-based” approach. Others stated that they will not agree to a second commitment period. Still others stated that they are willing to agree to a second commitment period if certain conditions were met concerning an agreement covering the major economies.
Participants noted that given the length of, and extent of disagreement in, the text, negotiations could not proceed line-by-line and result in agreement in Cancun. Rather, negotiations in Tianjin should focus on key issues, including through focused break-out groups, and “extract” from the text what is needed for decisions in Cancun. It was suggested that the LCA Chair should be supported in her efforts and it might be helpful for negotiators to focus on “what” they can agree to do, rather than “why.”
There was a discussion of equity, which is referred to in the Convention and the Copenhagen Accord as a consideration in efforts to address climate change. A range of views was expressed regarding what equity refers to and how it applies.