Policy Analysis

Scenarios and Sticking Points under the Durban Platform: The long and winding road to 2020

By Soledad Aguilar, Jessica Boyle on November 6, 2012

Given the outcomes of COP 17 in Durban, South Africa, and subsequent negotiating sessions in Bonn and Bangkok in 2012, achieving "success" under the newly formed Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) is proving to be a formidable task. Nonetheless, Parties have begun to envision a future where all major emitters may be under the same "mitigation tent."

In advance of COP 18 in Doha, this commentary provides an overview of the current state of play within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, including an overview of the most recent round of negotiations in Bangkok (August 30-September 5, 2012). It then explores four scenarios, or potential outcomes, under the Durban Platform, and what each would mean in the context of reaching a new, inclusive and effective international climate change agreement.

The analysis concludes that for COP 18 to be considered a success, negotiators must tangentially balance cautious progress under the ADP with outcomes under the other negotiating tracks. Rushing outcomes prematurely under the ADP could risk years of progress made elsewhere, yet leaving the ADP fully at the behest of the other tracks could lead to the full entrenchment of the same old divisions in this new venue for negotiations.