At the EU press conference this morning which has just finished Connie Hedegaard has stressed that the EU wants a good outcome and a balanced package including solutions to both easy and difficult questions.
In answer to questions on a range of issues Commissioner Hedegaard and Minister Schauvliege said that text is almost ready on many of the easier issues but that, as Mrs Hedegaard put it, countries are hesitant to put pen to paper on these issues until they see the overall shape of the package. A new text is due shortly. When negotiators see this latest version of an overall text they can then begin to look possible compromises. “that is then the endgame” says Commissioner Hedegaard.
In their opening statements to the press conference both Commission and Council made clear what the difficult issues are from their viewpoint. The EU would find very difficult to sign package that does not address such issues as MRV, ICA, the gigatonne gap and the legally binding form.
Behind this Cancun speak lies the reality of how a compromise may be shaping up. The US could possible agree to more transparency on both their emissions pledges and on the finance they will give, but only if China and India allow some kind of international monitoring of the actions they will take to reduce emissions. MRV is the buzz word for this transparency - it means monitoring, reporting and verification. MRV in some form would apply to both developed and developing countries.
However, The emerging economies, and especially China have made very clear all along that they will not submit to the same kind of monitoring system as the developed countries. The developing countries need to have a system of what is known as ICA or international consultations and analysis, but there has been deadlock about what form this would take
Recently, Indian Prime Minister Ramesh set out in a letter a possible compromise on such multinational monitoring through ICA and now it seems that this could be a vital second leg of the overall compromise deal to be signed tonight or tomorrow.
The deal will finally hang on how the existing Kyoto Protocol (KP) which the US is not part of and the track on long-term cooperative action (LCA) under the convention, which came out of the Bali Action Plan and which the US is part of, will be merged.
Or in other words how the EU, and possibly even Japan or Russia, could sign up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol knowing that they would not stand alone in facing legally binding targets while the US faced none.
And this, of course, bring us to the last element of a possible deal here, what will be said about what is being called the ‘gigatonne gap’ or in other words the fact that the pledges made at Copenhagen last year are totally insufficient to meet hat science tells us is need to prevent catastrophic climate change.
At the press conference this morning, the EU made it clear they will need some wording in any final text that makes clear that the Copenhagen pledges are a starting point and not an end point and that they will have to be built on. A reliable need needs also a timetable on how these pledges will be both implemented and improved upon.