The tenth Meeting at the Leaders’ Representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate was hosted by the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium, April 26 - 27, 2011. It was attended by ministers and officials from the seventeen major economies, as well as the United Nations, with Denmark, Egypt, Republic of Maldives, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, and the UAE also participating in the session. Argentina, Barbados, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Ethiopia were invited. Participants discussed how to advance prospects for a successful outcome in Durban that is ambitious yet pragmatic, and provides opportunities for Africa.
Participants emphasized the importance of operationalizing in Durban the balanced package agreed in Cancun. In light of the significance, amount, and challenge of this work, many expressed concern about the pace of progress this year and emphasized their support for the present and incoming Presidencies to organize informal discussions in support of the negotiations. Countries welcomed South Africa’s intention to put forward a schedule of informal meetings before the Bonn session in June. Unresolved issues (countries suggested issues such as: second commitment period of Kyoto, legal options, agriculture, bunkers, equity, the need for mitigation responsibilities to evolve, IPR, trade) also remain to be considered this year, noting that there are differences on many of those issues.
Several participants expressed the view that the mitigation workshops should be used to understand mitigation listings and the assumptions and conditions underlying them. Many participants expressed concern about the collective level of ambition and the need to stay on a pathway to two degrees. They underlined the importance of delivering operational transparency guidelines in Durban, and the need to deliver biennial reports by 2014. The value of making the technology mechanism and adaptation committee and work program operational in Durban was also emphasized.
Concerning finance, participants emphasized the importance of transparency in the distribution of fast start funding. Participants identified the need to mobilize all kinds of public and private finance, to consider innovative sources of long-term finance—including potentially through the G20—and to reduce fossil fuel subsidies. There was also the view that the Green Fund discussions and those in the Convention on mitigation and transparency are related and will need to move forward together in Durban.
There was an extensive discussion of “legal options” as set forth in Cancun. A point that ran through the discussion was that the issue requires more sophisticated and subtle analysis than a simple yes or no answer. Participants raised and considered a variety of issues.
While all participants agreed on the need for environmental integrity, there continue to be substantial differences concerning a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. Some consider a second commitment period under Kyoto Protocol important because it contains legally binding mitigation targets, because it is rule-based, or for other reasons. Some consider it an inappropriate legal vehicle for mitigation commitments, given that it covers only a small fraction of global emissions, and therefore does not lead to environmental integrity. Others are willing to move forward with the second commitment period under certain conditions, e.g., that it involves action from all major economies and is transitional en route to a global agreement.