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COP15 Background Info

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The negotiating process on climate change revolves around the sessions of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP), which meets every year to review the implementation of the Convention. The COP adopts decisions and resolutions, published in reports of the COP. Successive decisions taken by the COP make up a detailed set of rules for practical and effective implementation of the Convention. The COP serves as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), which also adopts decisions and resolutions on the implementation of its provisions. For the sake of simplicity, the COP/CMP is termed “United Nations Climate Conference”. This term covers the entire event, including the sessions of the subsidiary bodies to the Convention and the ad hoc working groups as well as the many side events and exhibits held parallel to the talks and negotiations

What are the 4 political essentials for a successful Copenhagen conference?

A successful Copenhagen deal needs to map out how further global cooperation can be catalyzed by agreement on a number of political essentials.

1. Ambitious emission reduction targets for developed countries

Developed countries have accepted to continue taking the lead in reducing GHG emissions. Doing so requires agreement on an ambitious mid-term target for the group of developed countries as a whole, with each one of them making an effort of comparable scale in line with their historical responsibility and current capabilities.

To date, most developed countries have announced their mid-term target for emission reductions for 2020. However, despite the fact that key developed country forums such as the G8 have recognized a 2° C limit, pledges for mid-term targets by industrialized countries fall woefully short of the IPCC range (25% to 40% below 1990 levels by 2020.) Negotiations could raise the current level of ambition to get to a reduction level in line with the imperatives of science by focusing on international mechanisms and cooperation.

2. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries

The biggest contribution to the global emission increase over the next decades is projected to come from developing countries, though their average per capita CO2 emissions will remain substantially lower than those in developed country regions. In 2007 at Bali, developing countries indicated their willingness to undertake additional nationally appropriate mitigation actions, provided that they receive support for such actions.

A major concern of developing countries is that mitigation actions could distract resources away from their overriding priorities, which are poverty eradication and economic growth. The Copenhagen deal could build on domestic mitigation actions underway or planned in developing countries, and identify how they can be enhanced with international support. 

3. Scaling up financial and technological support for both adaptation and mitigation

Adequate financial, technological and capacity-building support is the engine for advancing international cooperation on climate change as well as national action. An essential part of a comprehensive deal at Copenhagen is identifying how to generate new, additional and predictable financial resources and technology. Resources needed for both adaptation and mitigation have been estimated to total up to USD 250 billion per annum in 2020.

Start-up funding is essential: The financial challenge is unique and particularly stark when it comes to current finance. At the moment, adaptation costs are primarily borne by the affected countries, including poor vulnerable communities which have no responsibility for emissions. Likewise, costs for the planning of additional mitigation actions are borne by developing countries. Kick-starting the action initiated in Copenhagen requires start-up funding in the order of USD 10 billion. Such funds need to be rapidly available to developing countries.

4. An effective institutional framework with governance structures that address the needs of developing countries

Copenhagen needs to deliver on an efficient mix of financial instruments with effective means for disbursement and for measurement, reporting and verification. Much of the currently available funding has not reached developing countries in a way that is regarded as efficient or beneficial. It is critical that the funds that are agreed as part of the Copenhagen outcome have governance principles that are founded on equity, respecting the interests and needs of developing countries, and that includes them as equal decision-making partners.

Furthermore, the agreed outcome needs an institutional arrangement that optimizes the allocation of funds and provides for a transparent system to monitor, report and verify actions and support. There is also a need to strengthen existing institutions, while at the same time explore proposals for the creation of new institutions. The United Nations stands ready to assist countries in implementing a Copenhagen agreed outcome in a practical way.

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  5. […] Climate Conference. For background information about Talley’s trip, visit his own blog, The Road to Copenhagen. — Julia Wasson, Publisher Reporter Simeon […]

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