The thirteenth meeting at the leaders’ representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate was held in Rome, Italy, April 17, 2012. It was attended by ministers and officials from the seventeen major economies, as well as the United Nations, with Colombia, New Zealand, Qatar, and Singapore also participating in the session. Algeria, Bangladesh, and Barbados were also invited.
Participants welcomed the package of agreements reached in Durban, which represents significant progress. The importance of implementing the Durban outcomes in a balanced fashion was emphasized, as well as the importance of upholding and moving forward with the Durban outcome. In anticipation of adopting a Kyoto Protocol amendment this year, it was noted that Annex I Kyoto Parties need to convert targets to QELROs, and agree on rules for the second commitment period and on how to treat the carryover of assigned amount units. While recognizing that the AWG-LCA and the AWG-KP will conclude their work in Doha, participants expressed different views on priorities for this year and whether/how issues that could not be resolved this year would be treated.
In light of the two degree goal, participants discussed means for increasing the ambition of collective efforts, including: inviting countries that have not yet put pledges on the table to do so; developing and implementing low emissions development strategies; exploring pragmatic opportunities that complement the negotiations (e.g. addressing international aviation and maritime emissions in ICAO and IMO, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, robust participation in the new Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and phasing out hydrofluorocarbons). Some mentioned that it would be useful for the UNFCCC to consider the “gap” between the two degree goal and current emission trajectories and for it to receive reports from other processes on their work to increase ambition.
Regarding the 2015 agreement, many felt that this is a year for active brainstorming and conceptualizing and suggested workshops to consider creative ideas on how to design an agreement that is flexible, dynamic and durable over time, that attracts participation of “all Parties,” and that promotes ambition. It was suggested that it would be useful to consider what has worked in various contexts, and what has not. There was broad agreement to consider substance before elaborating legal form. Some thought a particular legal form is not an end in itself and should serve the objective, while others have a view already on the desired legal form.
Participants had a frank discussion on the subject of equity. They recognized that equity is embedded in the Convention and that any agreement needs to be perceived as “equitable” by Parties to be accepted. Participants provided a range of views on equity, but affirmed that countries have an imperative to develop and to eradicate poverty. Participants felt that the outcome of the Durban Platform would need to be considered equitable by Parties.
Development finance agencies from three MEF countries (Germany’s KfW Development Bank, the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)) described how they are scaling up investment in low-carbon infrastructure in developing countries. They discussed innovative examples of how public finance tools can leverage private finance, and the important role of the enabling environment. The presentations were followed by a discussion of the challenges to date of providing private finance for adaptation, how funded activities align with host country priorities, and how to continue to scale up investment. The MEF will continue discussing the nexus between public and private investment at its next meeting.
The International Energy Agency presented on energy and climate pathways. The presentation noted that current policies are not sufficient to achieve a 2 degree trajectory, with the drivers of emissions including increasing energy demand driven by economic growth, as well as continued reliance on coal and other fossil fuels. The presentation highlighted four key policy areas that could be addressed: (1) energy efficiency; (2) renewable energy; (3) nuclear power; and (4) carbon capture and storage. The presentation also noted the importance of energy subsidy reform and of global energy R&D. The co-chair proposed that there be a sub-group, with all interested countries engaged, to develop ideas for concrete action that MEF countries could take in these and other policy areas, and to bring the results of that effort back to the full group at the next meeting of the MEF.