Wednesday, January 20, 2010

UNFCCC Press Briefing On Future Climate Negotiations

Jan 20: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer provided a press briefing discussing the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen [See WIMS 1/5/10] and outlining the way forward for the UN climate change process in 2010. De Boer opened the briefing saying, "It is fair to say that Copenhagen did not produce the full agreement the world needs to address the collective climate challenge. That only makes the task more urgent. The window of opportunity to come grips with the issue is closing at the same rate as before."

He indicated that although COP15 wasn't a full success, it produced three key outcomes: First, it raised climate change to the highest level of government, which ultimately is the only level at which it can be resolved; Second, the Copenhagen Accord reflects a political consensus on the long-term, global response to climate change; and Third, negotiations away from the cameras brought an almost full set of decisions to implement rapid climate action near to completion. He said, "Governments need time to digest what happened but cool heads already see these outcomes as a way forward to grasp a bigger, collective goal. You can say that although Copenhagen didn't produce the final cake, it left countries with the right ingredients to bake a new one in Mexico."

He said the Copenhagen Accord was crafted by a group of countries, including "the biggest, smallest, richest and poorest." He said it represents a political letter of intent that offers to reduce national emissions and sets a global temperature rise limit of two degrees centigrade. It defines amounts of short and long-term finance to implement climate change action in developing nations. And it sets a 2015 review year to check if global action by then needs to be more urgent to meet the challenge. He said, "The Accord language is anchored in the Framework Climate Change Convention and many countries are telling me it should be used now to reinvigorate the formal climate change negotiations under the UN and make further progress."

De Boer said, "A great success before Copenhagen was that many countries pledged mid-term reductions in emissions and the world can expect them to honor those pledges. Now, they have the opportunity to record those pledges in the Accord. Also at Copenhagen, negotiators came close to decisions on a set of measures which would make a long-term global response to climate change operational. We're now in a cooling off period that gives useful and needed time for countries to resume their discussions with each other.

"Copenhagen set out to deliver an agreement on four essential areas: medium-term emission cuts by industrialized countries; action by developing countries to limit the growth of their emissions; finance to implement action; and an equitable governance of the climate regime. Those issues remain as relevant as they were before Copenhagen. If countries follow up Copenhagen's outcomes calmly, with eyes firmly fixed on the advantage of collective action, they have every chance of completing the job."

On January 18, UNFCCC issued a notice to the parties regarding the submission of specific technical information following as generally agreed to in the Copenhagen Accord. The notice indicates, "I would invite those Parties that wish to be associated with the Copenhagen Accord to transmit this information to the secretariat by 31 January 2010. . .Additionally the secretariat will maintain and update on its website a list of Parties that have communicated their intention to associate themselves with the Accord. . ." Included among the information is the information on "quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 in the format given in Appendix I of the Accord" and "mitigation actions in the format given in Appendix II."

Access the speaking notes from press briefing (
click here). Access a webcast of the press briefing (click here). Access the notice to parties regarding submitting information (click here). Access all decisions adopted by the Conference, as well as the Copenhagen Accord (click here). Access the UNFCCC website for more information (click here).