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Stakes have been raised at COP20, Ministers have arrived, high-level segments have begun and the pressure is on now to start moving closer to something which can be agreed at Lima

The week began with the release of two new texts under the Durban Platform (or ADP) negotiations: one for the draft decision from the Lima talks (which focuses on the nature and content of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, for the Paris deal) and one on elements for the draft negotiating text.

After initial procedural discussions, the government delegates have got down to a line-by-line discussion on the two documents. This is both a time-consuming process and has resulted in many additions to the documents. At the last call, the draft decision document had expanded from 18 to 56 pages; this is just the start and the main sections of the document are under discussion as this blog is being written. This is clearly the build-up to Paris with every country putting their negotiating issues into the final document at the present moment.

The ultimate legal form of the 2015 agreement is still under discussion. Whether the new agreement is under article 15 of the Convention (an amendment to the Convention), article 16 (an annex) article 17 (thus making it a protocol – which is problematic for countries such as the USA). All these forms will have significantly different impacts on the nature of the final agreement and its impacts on nations (and business).

The COP President in the plenary roomThere is a related continuing discussion on Articles 5/7/8 of the Kyoto Protocol. These refer to Ukraine’s carry-over of Assigned Amount Units to the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. If agreement can be reached on this issue, it would lead to more countries – specifically those in the EU and EEA – to be able to ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Discussions on guidance to the CDM Executive Board are ongoing. Significant differences on whether the CDM should be viewed in a pre-2020 context or post-2020 are stalling any progress.

The big news from Tuesday was that government pledges to the Green Climate Fund had reached the targeted $10 billion, following contributions from Belgium and Australia at the high-level ministerial dialogue on climate finance. Whilst this is significant, the use of these funds will be instrumental in gaining trust in the whole climate change process and allow countries to have more confidence in taking action.

Today is Al Gore day, with the former US vice-President giving an address at lunch time. Tomorrow (Thursday), John Kerry, the US Secretary of State will be arriving at the conference.

Last updated: 22 September 2015