ADP Workstream 2: The most pressing and immediate of needs shuffled to end of queue

Under the ADP, two ‘workstreams’ were created to meet climate change goals. Workstream 1 was created to identify Individual Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) that will be signed at the Paris 2015 COP; Workstream 2 was created to fill the ‘gap’ between present and the 2020 date of implementation of the Paris 2015 agreement.

Since the experts agree with the urgency indicated by the IPCC, it is logical to think that the more quickly action is taken, the better the chances are for keeping climate change at bay. So why is the period between now and 2020 being neglected? It may be because the industrialized nations are not yet feeling the ‘heat’ or drowning in the effects of climate change yet. There has been very little talk of this “low hanging fruit” in negotiations this week.Exhibit in Lima, Peru

Talk has turned solely to the INDCs. This is worrisome to the developing nations where change is needed now.  One aspect of the ADP that is under fire from all sides right now is the timing of the 2020 agreement. The EU and other developed nations are pushing for a longer period than 5 years. In a press conference yesterday, the EU said that an 8-year or longer period would signal Parties’ commitments. Developing nations do not see it this way. Developing nations do not welcome the push for longer timeframes, inclusion of private sector funding and references to markets in the text.

With the conversations focused on the INDCs and the post-2020 period, it is likely that the second week will begin with nothing formally on the negotiating table for Workstream 2 and the most pressing issues that face the vulnerable Parties over the next five years. The EU stated that they do not envision anything binding on mitigation over the next 5 years, but perhaps this will be a sticking point for LCDs and AOSIS that have been feeling the effects of climate change for years now.

Bangladesh. Photo by G. Braasch

Bangladesh. Photo by G. Braasch

China suggested perambulatory text for the draft of the ADP decision that states “grave concern” over the gap between now and 2020 while the EU and the US struck text about adaptation and whole paragraphs aimed at pre-2020 ambition through finance and adaptation support. Party submissions are available online but sadly not much is being said about the interim period before the year 2020.