The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) held a meeting in Washington, DC, April 12, 2013. It was attended by ministers and officials from the 17 major economies, as well as the United Nations, with Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore also participating in the session. Peru, Qatar, and Tanzania were also invited.
Leaders’ representatives first discussed reinvigorating the MEF’s action mandate. Participants supported engaging in voluntary, cooperative, large-scale efforts through the MEF. They stressed that MEF action efforts should be voluntary, ambitious, based on national circumstances, provide technical assistance where needed, and include a non-intrusive means of taking stock. Participants agreed to start with one initiative and potentially pursue additional initiatives should the first prove successful.
Participants also agreed that the first initiative should focus on improving the energy performance of buildings. They emphasized the multiple benefits of enhancing building performance, ranging from emission reductions to cost savings, energy security, and resilience. Many countries described their ongoing efforts in the buildings sector, and there was wide acknowledgement that countries could enhance one another’s efforts by sharing expertise and best practices.
Participants agreed to take the next step of forming a Working Group to elaborate the details of the building performance initiative including overall goal(s), structure, mechanisms for taking stock, modalities for providing technical assistance, and the relationship of the initiative to the UNFCCC and ADP. The Working Group will meet first in May and work on an expedited basis to put forward a detailed draft plan for consideration by ministers at the next MEF meeting. Participants considered how a MEF building performance initiative could be supported by the Clean Energy Ministerial, including by taking advantage of its Super-efficient Equipment and Appliances Deployment (SEAD) initiative.
Participants also held in-depth discussions on certain aspects of the ADP process. They shared views on how the 2015 agreement could be structured in a way that promotes ambition. Achieving broad participation was viewed as an important objective. In that regard, participants discussed the merits of an approach under which Parties would design their own mitigation contributions in line with their national circumstances, capabilities, and other relevant factors. They discussed ideas for how such an approach might be augmented to further promote ambition, such as through a consultative period (during which draft mitigation contributions would be shared prior to finalization) and through ex ante clarity regarding the precise nature of
contributions. Other ideas included laying out the types of contributions that Parties may make, developing strong transparency provisions, developing clear accounting standards to enable tracking performance, periodic review, and the role of financial and technical incentives. The importance of aligning ambition with science was also highlighted.
Participants shared views on differentiation of mitigation contributions in the agreement, including the role of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR). There was substantial convergence around the view that Parties will all be expected to make contributions, but that their contributions will differ in line with national circumstances and capabilities, etc. The role of the Convention’s annexes in relation to the agreement was discussed, as was the importance of financial and technical support for developing countries.
Participants agreed to follow up these discussions at their next meeting, to be convened in the summer of 2013.