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Jamaica endorses Brazilian proposal …Says tracking historical responsibility for global warming critical

Jeff Spooner

BY ANA SCARLETT
WARSAW, Poland (PANOS) —Jamaica has given its stamp of approval to Brazil’s proposal to have the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)be given the mandate to develop a methodology to track historical contributions to global warming.

“If we want to go some place, we need to know where we are coming from,”Jamaica’s Head of Delegation Jeffrey Spooner said last Friday night (November 15).

“I sympathise and I understand Brazil’s position in that people need to at least understand their historical responsibilities and in doing so, it will bring everything clearly out. The methodology is there; historical responsibility can be assigned scientifically,” he added.

The effort to quantify historical responsibility for global warming is seen as critical,as countries look to settle matters, including climate adaptation financing and greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in time for the Paris, France negotiations in 2015.

Emissions reduction is especially crucial, given the current goal to limit global temperature increases to no more than two degrees Celsius. Without reductions, that will not happen.

The Brazil proposal was ‘adopted by the Group of G77 and China — of which Jamaica is a member country — in the meeting of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and technological Advice here on Wednesday (November 13).

This followed opposition from developed countries, led by the United States, when the proposal was initially brought on Monday.

The proposal stands on Brazil’s belief that “the IPCC should play a key role in providing the necessary scientific guidance to assist Parties [to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] in the development of a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties for it to come into effect and be implemented from 2020, under the “Ad Hoc” Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP)”.

It states, among other things, that the proposal to be developed by the IPCC should be:

·  based on Parties’ individual cumulative greenhouse gas emissions since 1850;

·  developed in a simplified manner to facilitate use by all Governments in their estimate of national
   cumulative emissions and corresponding action post-2020;

·   cover gases accounted for under the Kyoto Protocol and all sectors; and

·   take into account the double accumulation process, “from accumulation from emissions to
    concentration and from concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to temperature increase.”

The document further calls for the IPCC to develop guidelines to allow countries to provide simplified estimates of their historical emissions of all greenhouse gases emissions by sources and removal by sinks since 1850 in all sectors of human activity.

“Based on these guidelines, Parties could estimate their individual historical emissions for all Kyoto gases and all sectors. Estimated data could support national debates on the fight against climate change, while also serving as a reference for the multilateral consideration of individual pledges presented,” Brazil said in the document.

Concerning next steps, Spooner said a work plan would likely be developed for the proposal.

“It is a process and I do not expect a decision on that to be taken here [in Warsaw]. The most I would expect from it is a work plan as to how we move forward,” he noted.

Delegates from more than 190 countries, in addition to journalists and civil society organisations as well as some business interests, are gathered in the Polish capital for the climate change talks that began on November 11 and are to end on November 22.