Friday, April 02, 2010

UNFCCC Issues Reports On Copenhagen Conference

Subscribers & Readers Notice:
We are taking our Spring publication break next week
while Congress is in recess.
We'll we resume publication on Monday, April 12, 2010.
Mar 31: The UN Climate Change Secretariat published official reports on the results of last year's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (December 7-19, 2009). The reports detail the outcomes of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties at its 15th session (COP 15) and of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol on its fifth session (CMP5). Each report is in two parts: one on formal proceedings and one on the decisions adopted by the relevant body.

    Since the closing of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has received submissions of national pledges to cut or limit emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 from 75 Parties, which together account for more than 80% percent of global emissions from energy use. Forty-one industrialized countries have formally communicated their economy-wide targets to the UNFCCC. 35 developing countries have communicated information on the nationally appropriate mitigation actions they are planning to take, provided they receive the appropriate support in terms of finance and technology.

    UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer who will be resigning in July said, "It is clear that while the pledges on the table are an important step towards the objective of limiting growth of emissions, they will not in themselves suffice to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. The Climate Conference at the end of this year in Mexico therefore needs to put in place effective cooperative mechanisms capable of bringing about significant acceleration of national, regional and international action both to limit the growth of emissions and to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change."
    The report of the Conference of the Parties contains, among other things, the text of the Copenhagen Accord and lists the 112 Parties (111 countries and the European Union) that have indicated their support for the Accord. The next round of UNFCCC negotiations is scheduled to be held in Bonn, Germany, on April 9-11. The meeting will be followed by a two-week negotiating round which will comprise the 32nd session of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies, between May 31 and June 11, 2010. Both gatherings will take place in the Maritim Hotel in Bonn. The April UNFCCC sessions are designed to agree on the organization and methods of work in 2010. This includes the number and duration of any additional UNFCCC negotiating sessions in the second half of 2010, in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Mexico (November 29 to December 10).
    The article indicates that as of March 25, a total of 73 countries -- 40 Annex I and 33 non-Annex I countries (including Kazakhstan) -- have submitted targets or actions to the Secretariat. Of these, 64 have explicitly associated themselves with the Accord. An additional 35 countries have explicitly associated themselves with the Accord but have not submitted targets or actions. 13 countries -- including Brazil, Croatia, China, India, Namibia, and Palau -- have expressed support for the Accord, without "associating" with it. 4 countries, the Cook Islands, Kuwait, Nauru and Ecuador -- an interesting mix of small island and oil exporting countries -- have submitted letters to the UNFCCC "not associating with or supporting" the Accord.

    WRI reports that the BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China)met on January 24th, 2010, shortly after COP-15 and just prior to the Accord's deadline for submissions. They acknowledged their central role in finalizing the Accord, and underscored their support for the document. According to the joint statement of the BASIC group, the countries "underlined the importance of the Accord as representing a high level political understanding among the participants on some of the contentious issues of the climate change negotiations." 

    WRI says, " It must be recalled that a number of UNFCCC parties continue to object to both the Accord's content and the process by which it was agreed. At least one party, Cuba, has formally objected, in writing to the UNFCCC Secretariat's handling of the Accord, describing the document as 'frappe de nullite' or 'null and void.' Under the UNFCCC's consensus decision-making rules one can reasonably expect that this and some of the other 90 parties to the UNFCCC that have either remained silent or have rejected the Accord as illegitimate will continue to raise procedural objections to its use in the ongoing negotiations."

    Access a lengthy release from UNEP with links to additional information (click here). Access the two reports (click here). Access the various communications from the parties (click here). Access more information on the Copenhagen Accord from the UNFCCC website (click here). Access the WRI analysis with links to related information (click here).