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MEF Discusses Expectations for the 2015 Paris Climate Conference

MEF18 July 2013: Participants at the 16th Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) discussed negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and expectations ahead of the Paris Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in 2015, particularly whether mitigation commitments will be finalized or whether Paris will launch a future process to agree on such commitments.

The Forum convened in Krakow, Poland, on 18 July 2013, with ministers and officials from 17 major economies in attendance, as well as representatives from the UN, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. Barbados and the Democratic Republic of the Congo were also invited.

Some participants indicated that 2015 might be too early to agree on mitigation targets because countries must first agree on ground rules and on relevant text, while others stressed the importance of including mitigation commitments in the 2015 outcome.

MEF participants also considered: options for legal force regarding mitigation provisions of the 2015 agreement, noting the possibility of different types of provisions and lack of uniform treatment in terms of legal force; potential situations when aggregate commitments fall short of necessary ambition; and whether bounds on flexibility should be accorded to countries in coming up with nationally-determined commitments, regarding timeframe, quantification, or transparency.

Participants supported the concept of a MEF Action Agenda, which was initiated at the 15th MEF in April 2013, and would consist of concrete efforts to accelerate the transition to low-carbon economies, through focusing on improving the performance and energy efficiency of buildings, which are the largest single source of energy demand, accounting for approximately 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions. The discussions built on progress made at previous MEF and Working Group meetings, the latter formed to elaborate details of the building performance initiative.

The next MEF will convene on the margins of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York, US, in September 2013. The MEF was launched by US President Barack Obama in March 2009, and is intended to: facilitate dialogue among major developed and developing economies; help generate the necessary political leadership to achieve successful outcomes at annual UN climate negotiations; and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the clean energy supply while cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The 17 major economies are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Russian Federation, South Africa, the UK and the US. [MEF Website] [Chair's Summary of the 16th MEF] [Chair's Summary of the 15th MEF] [Past MEFs]