United Nations Climate Change conference

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The United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They serve as the formal meeting of the UNFCCC Parties (Conferences of the Parties) (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change, and beginning in the mid-1990s, to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.[1] From 2005 the Conferences have also served as the "Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol" (CMP);[2] also parties to the Convention that are not parties to the Protocol can participate in Protocol-related meetings as observers. The first UN Climate Change Conference was held in 1995 in Berlin.

1995: COP 1, The Berlin Mandate[edit]

The first UNFCCC Conference of Parties took place in 28 March - 7 April 1995 in Berlin, Germany. It voiced concerns about the adequacy of countries' abilities to meet commitments under the Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

1996: COP 2, Geneva, Switzerland[edit]

COP 2 took place in July 1996 in Geneva, Switzerland. Its Ministerial Declaration was noted (but not adopted) July 18, 1996, and reflected a U.S. position statement presented by Timothy Wirth, former Under Secretary for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department at that meeting, which:

  1. Accepted the scientific findings on climate change proffered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its second assessment (1995);
  2. Rejected uniform "harmonized policies" in favor of flexibility;
  3. Called for "legally binding mid-term targets".

1997: COP 3, The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change[edit]

COP 3 took place in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. After intensive negotiations, it adopted the Kyoto Protocol, which outlined the greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligation for Annex I countries, along with what came to be known as Kyoto mechanisms such as emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation. Most industrialized countries and some central European economies in transition (all defined as Annex B countries) agreed to legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of an average of 6 to 8% below 1990 levels between the years 2008–2012, defined as the first emissions budget period. The United States would be required to reduce its total emissions an average of 7% below 1990 levels; however Congress did not ratify the treaty after Clinton signed it. The Bush administration explicitly rejected the protocol in 2001.

1998: COP 4, Buenos Aires, Argentina[edit]

COP 4 took place in November 1998 in Buenos Aires. It had been expected that the remaining issues unresolved in Kyoto would be finalized at this meeting. However, the complexity and difficulty of finding agreement on these issues proved insurmountable, and instead the parties adopted a 2-year "Plan of Action" to advance efforts and to devise mechanisms for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, to be completed by 2000. During COP4, Argentina and Kazakhstan expressed their commitment to take on the greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligation, the first two non-Annex countries to do so.

1999: COP 5, Bonn, Germany[edit]

COP 5 took place between October 25 and November 5, 1999, in Bonn, Germany. It was primarily a technical meeting, and did not reach major conclusions.

2000: COP 6, The Hague, Netherlands[edit]

COP 6 took place between November 13 and November 25, 2000, in The Hague, Netherlands. The discussions evolved rapidly into a high-level negotiation over the major political issues. These included major controversy over the United States' proposal to allow credit for carbon "sinks" in forests and agricultural lands that would satisfy a major proportion of the U.S. emissions reductions in this way; disagreements over consequences for non-compliance by countries that did not meet their emission reduction targets; and difficulties in resolving how developing countries could obtain financial assistance to deal with adverse effects of climate change and meet their obligations to plan for measuring and possibly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the final hours of COP 6, despite some compromises agreed between the United States and some EU countries, notably the United Kingdom, the EU countries as a whole, led by Denmark and Germany, rejected the compromise positions, and the talks in The Hague collapsed. Jan Pronk, the President of COP 6, suspended COP-6 without agreement, with the expectation that negotiations would later resume.[3] It was later announced that the COP 6 meetings (termed "COP 6 bis") would be resumed in Bonn, Germany, in the second half of July. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the parties to the UNFCCC, COP 7, had been set for Marrakech, Morocco, in October–November 2001.

2001: COP 6, Bonn, Germany[edit]

COP 6 negotiations resumed July 17–27, 2001, in Bonn, Germany, with little progress having been made in resolving the differences that had produced an impasse in The Hague. However, this meeting took place after George W. Bush had become the President of the United States and had rejected the Kyoto Protocol in March 2001; as a result the United States delegation to this meeting declined to participate in the negotiations related to the Protocol and chose to take the role of observer at the meeting. As the other parties negotiated the key issues, agreement was reached on most of the major political issues, to the surprise of most observers, given the low expectations that preceded the meeting. The agreements included:

  1. Flexible mechanisms: The "flexibility mechanisms" which the United States had strongly favored when the Protocol was initially put together, including emissions trading, joint implementation (JI), and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which allows industrialized countries to fund emissions reduction activities in developing countries as an alternative to domestic emission reductions. One of the key elements of this agreement was that there would be no quantitative limit on the credit a country could claim from use of these mechanisms provided domestic action constituted a significant element of the efforts of each Annex B country to meet their targets.
  2. Carbon sinks: It was agreed that credit would be granted for broad activities that absorb carbon from the atmosphere or store it, including forest and cropland management, and re-vegetation, with no over-all cap on the amount of credit that a country could claim for sinks activities. In the case of forest management, an Appendix Z establishes country-specific caps for each Annex I country. Thus, a cap of 13 million tons could be credited to Japan (which represents about 4% of its base-year emissions). For cropland management, countries could receive credit only for carbon sequestration increases above 1990 levels.
  3. Compliance: Final action on compliance procedures and mechanisms that would address non-compliance with Protocol provisions was deferred to COP 7, but included broad outlines of consequences for failing to meet emissions targets that would include a requirement to "make up" shortfalls at 1.3 tons to 1, suspension of the right to sell credits for surplus emissions reductions, and a required compliance action plan for those not meeting their targets.
  4. Financing: There was agreement on the establishment of three new funds to provide assistance for needs associated with climate change: (1) a fund for climate change that supports a series of climate measures; (2) a least-developed-country fund to support National Adaptation Programs of Action; and (3) a Kyoto Protocol adaptation fund supported by a CDM levy and voluntary contributions.

A number of operational details attendant upon these decisions remained to be negotiated and agreed upon, and these were the major issues considered by the COP 7 meeting that followed.

2001: COP 7, Marrakech, Morocco[edit]

At the COP 7 meeting in Marrakech, Morocco from October 29 to November 10, 2001, negotiators wrapped up the work on the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, finalizing most of the operational details and setting the stage for nations to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The completed package of decisions is known as the Marrakech Accords. The United States delegation maintained its observer role, declining to participate actively in the negotiations. Other parties continued to express hope that the United States would re-engage in the process at some point and worked to achieve ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the requisite number of countries to bring it into force (55 countries needed to ratify it, including those accounting for 55% of developed-country emissions of carbon dioxide in 1990). The date of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (August–September 2002) was put forward as a target to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The main decisions at COP 7 included:

  • Operational rules for international emissions trading among parties to the Protocol and for the CDM and joint implementation;
  • A compliance regime that outlined consequences for failure to meet emissions targets but deferred to the parties to the Protocol, once it came into force, the decision on whether those consequences would be legally binding;
  • Accounting procedures for the flexibility mechanisms;
  • A decision to consider at COP 8 how to achieve a review of the adequacy of commitments that might lead to discussions on future commitments by developing countries.

2002: COP 8, New Delhi, India[edit]

Taking place from October 23 to November 1, 2002, in New Delhi COP 8 adopted the Delhi Ministerial Declaration[4] that, amongst others, called for efforts by developed countries to transfer technology and minimize the impact of climate change on developing countries. It is also approved the New Delhi work programme[5][6][7][8] on Article 6 of the Convention.[9] The COP8 was marked by Russia's hesitation, stating that it needed more time to think it over. The Kyoto Protocol could enter into force once it was ratified by 55 countries, including countries responsible for 55 per cent of the developed world's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions. With the United States (36.1 per cent share of developed-world carbon dioxide) and Australia refusing ratification, Russia's agreement (17% of global emissions in 1990) was required to meet the ratification criteria and therefore Russia could delay the process.[10][11]

2003: COP 9, Milan, Italy[edit]

COP 9 took place between December 1 and December 12, 2003 in Milan. The parties agreed to use the Adaptation Fund established at COP7 in 2001 primarily in supporting developing countries better adapt to climate change. The fund would also be used for capacity-building through technology transfer. At COP9, the parties also agreed to review the first national reports submitted by 110 non-Annex I countries.

2004: COP 10, Buenos Aires, Argentina[edit]

COP 10 took place between December 6 and December 17, 2004.

COP10 discussed the progress made since the first Conference of the Parties 10 years ago and its future challenges, with special emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation. To promote developing countries better adapt to climate change, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action[12] was adopted. The parties also began discussing the post-Kyoto mechanism, on how to allocate emission reduction obligation following 2012, when the first commitment period ends.

2005: COP 11/CMP 1, Montreal, Canada[edit]

COP 11 (or COP 11/CMP 1) took place between November 28 and December 9, 2005, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was the first Meeting of the Parties (CMP 1) to the Kyoto Protocol since their initial meeting in Kyoto in 1997. It was one of the largest intergovernmental conferences on climate change ever. The event marked the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. Hosting more than 10,000 delegates, it was one of Canada's largest international events ever and the largest gathering in Montreal since Expo 67. The Montreal Action Plan was an agreement to "extend the life of the Kyoto Protocol beyond its 2012 expiration date and negotiate deeper cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions".[13] Canada's environment minister, at the time, Stéphane Dion, said the agreement provides a "map for the future".[14][15]

2006: COP 12/CMP 2, Nairobi, Kenya[edit]

COP 12/CMP 2 took place between November 6 and 17, 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya. At the meeting, BBC reporter Richard Black coined the phrase "climate tourists" to describe some delegates who attended "to see Africa, take snaps of the wildlife, the poor, dying African children and women". Black also noted that due to delegates concerns over economic costs and possible losses of competitiveness, the majority of the discussions avoided any mention of reducing emissions. Black concluded that was a disconnect between the political process and the scientific imperative.[16] Despite such criticism, certain strides were made at COP12, including in the areas of support for developing countries and clean development mechanism. The parties adopted a five-year plan of work to support climate change adaptation by developing countries, and agreed on the procedures and modalities for the Adaptation Fund. They also agreed to improve the projects for clean development mechanism.

2007: COP 13/CMP 3, Bali, Indonesia[edit]

COP 13/CMP 3 took place between December 3 and December 15, 2007, at Nusa Dua, in Bali, Indonesia. Agreement on a timeline and structured negotiation on the post-2012 framework (the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol) was achieved with the adoption of the Bali Action Plan (Decision 1/CP.13). The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) was established as a new subsidiary body to conduct the negotiations aimed at urgently enhancing the implementation of the Convention up to and beyond 2012. Decision 9/CP.13 is an Amended to the New Delhi work programme.[17] These negotiations took place during 2008 (leading to COP 14/CMP 4 in Poznan, Poland) and 2009 (leading to COP 15/CMP 5 in Copenhagen).

2008: COP 14/CMP 4, Poznań, Poland[edit]

COP 14/CMP 4 took place from December 1 to12, 2008 in Poznań, Poland.[18] Delegates agreed on principles for the financing of a fund to help the poorest nations cope with the effects of climate change and they approved a mechanism to incorporate forest protection into the efforts of the international community to combat climate change.[19]

Negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol were the primary focus of the conference.

2009: COP 15/CMP 5, Copenhagen, Denmark[edit]

COP 15 took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from December 7 to December 18, 2009.

The overall goal for the COP 15/CMP 5 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Denmark was to establish an ambitious global climate agreement for the period from 2012 when the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires. However, on November 14, 2009, the New York Times announced that "President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement... agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific "politically binding" agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future".[20] Ministers and officials from 192 countries took part in the Copenhagen meeting and in addition there were participants from a large number of civil society organizations. As many Annex 1 industrialized countries are now reluctant to fulfill commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, a large part of the diplomatic work that lays the foundation for a post-Kyoto agreement was undertaken up to the COP15.

The conference did not achieve a binding agreement for long-term action. A 13-paragraph 'political accord' was negotiated by approximately 25 parties including US and China, but it was only 'noted' by the COP as it is considered an external document, not negotiated within the UNFCCC process.[21] The accord was notable in that it referred to a collective commitment by developed countries for new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, that will approach USD 30 billion for the period 2010–2012. Longer-term options on climate financing mentioned in the accord are being discussed within the UN Secretary General's High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing, which is due to report in November 2010. The negotiations on extending the Kyoto Protocol had unresolved issues as did the negotiations on a framework for long-term cooperative action. The working groups on these tracks to the negotiations are now due to report to COP 16 and CMP 6 in Mexico.

2010: COP 16/CMP 6, Cancún, Mexico[edit]

COP 16 was held in Cancún, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10, 2010.[22][23]

The outcome of the summit was an agreement adopted by the states' parties that called for the 100 billion USD per annum "Green Climate Fund", and a "Climate Technology Centre" and network. However the funding of the Green Climate Fund was not agreed upon. Nor was an commitment to a second period of the Kyoto Protocol agreed upon, but it was concluded that the base year shall be 1990 and the global warming potentials shall be those provided by the IPCC.

All parties "Recognizing that climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet, and thus requires to be urgently addressed by all Parties,". It recognizes the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report goal of a maximum 2 °C global warming and all parties should take urgent action to meet this goal. It also agreed upon greenhouse gas emissions should peak as soon as possible, but recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries, since social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries.

2011: COP 17/CMP 7, Durban, South Africa[edit]

The 2011 COP 17 was held in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9, 2011.[22][24]

The conference agreed to a legally binding deal comprising all countries, which will be prepared by 2015, and to take effect in 2020.[25] There was also progress regarding the creation of a Green Climate Fund (GCF) for which a management framework was adopted. The fund is to distribute US$100 billion per year to help poor countries adapt to climate impacts.[26]

While the president of the conference, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, declared it a success,[26] scientists and environmental groups warned that the deal was not sufficient to avoid global warming beyond 2 °C as more urgent action is needed.[27]

2012: COP 18/CMP 8, Doha, Qatar[edit]

Qatar hosted COP 18 which took place in Doha, Qatar, from 26 November to 7 December 2012.[28][29] The Conference produced a package of documents collectively titled The Doha Climate Gateway.[30] The documents collectively contained:

  1. An amendment of the Kyoto Protocol (to be ratified before entering into force) featuring an second commitment period running from 2012 until 2020 limited in scope to 15% of the global carbon dioxide emissions due to the lack of commitments of Japan, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, New Zealand (nor the United States and Canada, who are not parties to the Protocol in that period) and due to the fact that developing countries like China (the world's largest emitter), India and Brazil are not subject to emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol.[31]
  2. Language on loss and damage, formalized for the first time in the conference documents.[clarification needed]

The conference made little progress towards the funding of the Green Climate Fund.[32]

Russia, Belarus and Ukraine objected at the end of the session,[clarification needed] as they had a right to under the session's rules. In closing the conference, the President said that he would note these objections in his final report.[32]

2013: COP 19/CMP 9, Warsaw, Poland[edit]

COP 19 was the 19th yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 9th session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP) to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (the protocol having been developed under the UNFCCC's charter). The conference was held in Warsaw, Poland from 11 to 23 November 2013.[33]

2014: COP 20/CMP 10, Lima, Peru[edit]

From December 1-12, 2014, Lima, Peru will host the 20th yearly session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 10th session of the Meeting of the Parties (CMP) to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol (the protocol having been developed under the UNFCCC's charter). The pre-COP conference will be held in Venezuela.[34]

2015: COP 21/CMP 11, Paris, France[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "What is the UNFCCC & the COP". Climate Leaders. Lead India. 2009. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  2. ^ The Adaptation Fund. Accessed: March 14, 2014.
  3. ^ John Hickman & Sarah Bartlett (2001). "Global Tragedy of the Commons at COP 6". Synthesis/Regeneration 24. Greens.org. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  4. ^ UNFCCC.int
  5. ^ UNFCCC.int
  6. ^ Amendment
  7. ^ Climateanddevelopment.org
  8. ^ Naturvardsverket.se
  9. ^ Article 6 of the The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is about education, training and public awareness
  10. ^ "2002 Russia hesitates". Timeline : Nature Reports Climate Change. Nature. 2002. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  11. ^ Hopkin, Michael (September 30, 2004). "Russia backs Kyoto treaty". Nature. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  12. ^ UNFCCC.int
  13. ^ [1][dead link]
  14. ^ Stephane Dion (December 13, 2005). "The Montreal Action Plan – Speaking Notes for the Honourable Stephane Dion, President, UN Climate Change Conference". Environment Canada. Retrieved June 18, 2010. 
  15. ^ COP 11 pages at the UNFCCC
  16. ^ Black, Richard (November 18, 2006). "Climate talks a tricky business". BBC News. Retrieved June 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ Ciesin.columbia.edu
  18. ^ "Calendar of Events". Gateway to the UN System's Work on Climate Change. UN.org. 2009. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  19. ^ Goering, Laurie (December 13, 2008). "Climate talks end, lukewarm Meetings in Poland finish with hopes for a new treaty next year.". Article Collections – Global Warming. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  20. ^ Cooper, Helene (November 14, 2009). "Leaders Will Delay Deal on Climate Change". New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Copenhagen Accord of 18 December 2009". UNFCC. 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2009. 
  22. ^ a b "Dates and venues of future sessions" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  23. ^ "COP 16". Cop16 website. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  24. ^ "Durban to Host Climate Conference". Greenpeace.org. 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2010-12-11. 
  25. ^ Harvey, Fiona; Vidal, John (11 December 2011). "Global climate change treaty in sight after Durban breakthrough". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  26. ^ a b Black, Richard (11 December 2011). "Climate talks end with late deal". BBC News. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  27. ^ Harvey, Fiona; Vidal, John (11 December 2011). "Durban deal will not avert catastrophic climate change, say scientists". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  28. ^ http://unfccc.int/files/press/news_room/unfccc_in_the_press/application/pdf/pr20112911_cop18.pdf
  29. ^ http://unfccc.int/meetings/doha_nov_2012/meeting/6815.php
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  31. ^ "UN Climate Conference throws Kyoto a Lifeline". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  32. ^ a b "Climate talks: UN forum extends Kyoto Protocol, settles compensation". BBC. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  33. ^ "19th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC". International Institute for Sustainable Development. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  34. ^ "Peru to host 2014 UN climate talks". Capital Broadcasting Network. Capital Group Limited. Retrieved 14 June 2013.