What is standing in the way of a happy ending: reflections on Art 6 before SBSTA 48

Date: 26 April 2018

Author(s): Andrei Marcu


Almost three years after the closing plenary of the Paris Agreement (PA), Article 6 has changed from being an uninvited, and almost unwanted guest during pre-Paris discussions, to being the toast of the party. Art 6 has become en vogue.

As we head to Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) 48 in May 2018 in Bonn, the scrutiny of Art 6, aiming to help make its provisions operational, is increasing almost every day. And yet, we seem to be far away from delivering a happy ending. Is it substance, or is it politics? It is not that the issues and options have not been discussed and analyzed, they have.

This paper is intended as a reflection on some of the issues that need to be recognized, and may need attention, if we are to deliver at the COP in Katowice. Some fall in the category of substance, some are process oriented.

One thing that we need to constantly remind ourselves in the course of these discussions is the bottom-up nature of the PA. It is not an absolute, there are top-down elements in the PA, and there will be a need sometimes to deviate from the bottom-up principle or combine it with top- down elements.