Thursday, May 21, 2009

UNFCCC Releases Kyoto Protocol Replacement Negotiating Text

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change

May 20: Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced that progress towards achieving an ambitious new treaty on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is gathering pace. The UNFCCC posted online the text to be negotiated by nations this December 7-18, in Copenhagen. De Boer said, “This document marks an important point on our road. It's the first time [a] real negotiating text will be on the table which can serve as a basis for governments to start drafting a Copenhagen agreed outcome.”

Governments attending the Copenhagen conference on climate change are expected to adopt an agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, whose first commitment period for reducing greenhouse gas emissions ends in 2012. The negotiations on reductions to be achieved by industrialized countries after 2012 center on issues related to the scale of the reductions, improvements to emissions trading and the Kyoto Protocol's carbon offset mechanisms, as well as concerns relating to land-use change and forestry.

The 53-page negotiating text covers a shared vision for long-term cooperative action, along with an action plan for strengthening adaptation and mitigation measures, as well as finance, technology and capacity-building. De Boer said, “Meanwhile, the United States has committed to a Copenhagen agreement and a clean energy future. Industrialized countries are giving developing nations due credit for the climate change strategies they already have in place." He stressed that with only 199 days before Copenhagen, time gets tighter but the world is not standing still on climate change.”

According to the brief document summary, "This document was prepared by the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) in response to the request from the AWG-LCA at its fourth session. The document presents a negotiating text, contained in the annex, which aims to provide a starting point for the negotiations at the sixth session of the group by reflecting ideas and proposals by Parties in a structured and comprehensive but concise manner. The text takes account of ideas and proposals contained in the most recent submissions from Parties received by the secretariat from the end of the fifth session up to 5 May 2009, of the ideas and proposals submitted previously. . ."

Before the UNFCCC conference in Copenhagen, some 3,000 participants, including government delegates, representatives from business and industry, environmental organizations and research institutions will gather in Bonn from June 1-12, for talks on the negotiating text. The meeting follows an early April meeting of the UNFCCC parties in Bonn [See WIMS 4/9/09] and a meeting of the "Major Economies" in late April in Washington, DC [See WIMS 4/29/09]. Following the Bonn meeting in June, and prior to the Copenhagen meeting, the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change will hold another meeting in June, the Group of 8 summit will be held in July, and the UN Secretary-General will hold a high-level meeting in September.

Access a release from the UN (click here). Access the Negotiating Document (click here). Access the Agendas and more information on the June meetings (click here). Access the Danish COP 15 host website (click here). Access the UNFCCC website for more information (click here). Access the United Nations Climate Change Gateway (click here).