The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) held a meeting in New York, NY, USA, September 24, 2013. It was attended by ministers and officials from the 17 major economies, as well as the United Nations, with officials from Denmark, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, and Singapore also participating in the session. Barbados, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were also invited.
Participants supported going forward under the MEF Action Agenda and to advance an initiative focused on improving the performance and energy efficiency of buildings. Participants underscored the potential scale of emission reductions and additional benefits from such an effort, as well as the value added of learning from each other through sharing of best practices and policies. Participants also stressed the need for the building initiative to take into account the variety of circumstances in MEF countries, to add a resilience component, to address finance issues, and to structure the initiative to best interface with sub-national actors and the private sector.
As an initial next step, participants agreed to form a working-level task force to further elaborate the optimal modalities of the initiative (including to work through issues of appropriate metrics and/or goals) as well as to begin sharing best practices and policies. The task force will report back to the MEF ministers at the first MEF meeting in 2014, at which time ministers will determine the next steps towards a launch with leader-level engagement in 2014.
The participants discussed the key elements of the 2015 agreement, focusing on what the best method would be for encouraging ambitious nationally determined commitments. Attention was given to how to structure a consultative or assessment process for draft commitments and to what type of clarifying information Parties should provide to promote the effectiveness of that process.
Participants discussed differentiation amongst Parties. They explored whether the natural differentiation that would result from nationally determined commitments was sufficient, or whether additional means of differentiation were advisable. There was discussion of whether categories of Parties are necessary or desirable, including whether the existing Convention Annexes should have any operational role under the new agreement. In addition, participants felt it was important for the regime to be fair in reflecting the different circumstances of Parties, and that such fairness would promote both participation and ambition.
The participants also discussed options for legal force regarding, in particular, the mitigation provisions of the 2015 agreement. They noted that the legal form should promote both ambition and participation and that different options had different advantages and disadvantages in those respects.
The participants discussed issues surrounding the timing of the 2015 agreement. First, they considered at what point Parties should be prepared to put forward their draft commitments in order to best advance towards a successful outcome for the 2015 agreement. Different views were expressed. Second, they discussed the issue of dates (e.g., 2025, 2030, etc.) for the mitigation commitments and noted the pros and cons of such dates.
Regarding the 2015 package, participants exchanged views on what issues should be addressed in a core agreement, versus what issues might be better addressed in COP decisions, or other arrangements, as part of the broader package agreement.
Finally, participants had a productive exchange on expectations for Warsaw. They agreed it was critical to continue progress on pre-2020 ambition and toward a successful agreement in 2015. A number of participants highlighted the importance of fostering a constructive transition to a more focused set of work in 2014.
MEF participants agreed to follow up these matters at their next meeting in the spring of 2014.