Monday, November 20, 2006

COP12/MOP2 Climate Conference Concludes

Nov 17: The United Nations Climate Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) concluded its two-week long 12th Conference of the Parties (COP12) and second meeting of the Parties (MOP2) Conferences held in Nairobi, Kenya [See WIMS 11/6/06]. According to a release from UNFCCC, the Conference adopted of a wide range of decisions designed to mitigate climate change and help countries adapt to the effects of global warming. The conference was attended by around six thousand participants, among them more than 100 ministers, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and two heads of state.

Conference President, Kenyan Minister for Natural Resources and the Environment Kivutha Kibwana said, "The conference has delivered on its promise to support the needs of developing countries. The positive spirit of the conference has prevailed." At the meeting, activities for the next few years under the "Nairobi Work programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation" were agreed. These activities will help enhance decision-making on adaptation action and improved assessment of vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.

UNFCCC also said another important outcome is the agreement on the management of the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol. The Adaptation Fund draws on proceeds generated by the clean development mechanism (CDM) and is designed to support concrete adaptation activities in developing countries. The CDM permits industrialized countries, which have emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol, to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries that reduce greenhouse gas emission, and thereby generate tradable emission credits. The Conference recognized the barriers that stand in the way of increased penetration of CDM projects in many countries, in particular in Africa. Parties welcomed the "Nairobi Framework" announced by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which will provide additional support to developing countries to successfully develop projects for the CDM. Rules were finalized for the Special Climate Change Fund. The fund is designed to finance projects in developing countries relating to adaptation, technology transfer, climate change mitigation and economic diversification for countries highly dependent on income from fossil fuels.

Parties also adopted rules of procedure for the Kyoto Protocol’s Compliance Committee, making it fully operational. The Compliance Committee, with its enforcement and facilitative branches, ensures that the Parties to the Protocol have a clear accountability regime in meeting their emission reductions targets. On one of the most important topics, UNFCCC said that Talks on commitments of industrialized countries for post-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol "advanced well," with Parties reaching agreement on a detailed work plan spelling out the steps needed to reach agreement on a set of new commitments.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said, "The 166 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol heard in Nairobi that global emissions of greenhouse gases have to be reduced to very low levels, well below half of levels in 2000, in order to avoid dangerous climate change. The fact that Parties now have a concrete workplan means that they can move ahead with addressing issues fundamental for agreement on future commitments, such as the level of emission reductions that is required and the ways in which they can be achieved."

Parties also held a second round of the Dialogue on long-term cooperative action to enhance implementation of the Convention, open to all 189 Parties to the UNFCCC. Landmark presentations on the latest findings on economic challenges posed by global warming were made, along with economic solutions. de Boer said, "We are seeing a revolutionary shift in the debate on climate change, from looking at climate change policies as a cost factor for development, countries are starting to see them as opportunities to enhance economic growth in a sustainable way. The further development of carbon markets can help mobilize the necessary financial resources needed for a global response to climate change and give us a future agreement that is focused on incentives to act."

The next round of negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol and talks under the United Nations Climate Change Convention will be held in Bonn, Germany in May 2007.

On November 15, Paula Dobriansky, Department of State, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs and Head of the United States Delegation to Nairobi issued a statement on U.S. Climate Change Policy. Dobriansky said, the United States is committed to addressing the serious global challenge of climate change... Second, we believe that the most effective way forward is to place the complex issue of climate change into the broader context of sustainable development... Third, United States climate change policy is guided by the belief that multiple solutions are best when grappling with complicated problems... Fourth, I would underscore the critical role of science and technology in addressing climate change... [and] Finally, we believe in the power of partnerships. Addressing climate change requires a partnership among all nations."

In her release she highlighted that since 2001, the U.S. Government has committed nearly $29 billion for climate change related activities. This year alone, she said the U.S. will spend more than $3.9 billion to advance practical climate change technologies. And, she indicated "the President's 2007 Budget for climate change includes an additional $6.5 billion -- an increase of 12 percent over the current budget." As an example of Partnerships, she discussed the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate as an innovative new effort to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technologies. The partnership includes six countries: Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States.

Access a release on the Conference conclusion (click here). Access a release on the “Nairobi Framework” (click here). Access links to specific COP12 and MOP2 decisions and agreements and related background documents (click here). Access the COP12/MOP2 website for all conference materials, documents and information (click here). Access complete and daily reporting from Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) (click here). Access a 22-page summary of the Conference from IISD (click here). Access the U.S. State Department's COP12 website (click here). Access links to some of the latest media coverage (click here). Access the WIMS Climate Change website for many important links (click here). [*Climate]