Summary of negotiations

Hello Climate Fans!

With Oh-So-Much going on in Bonn, we thought we’d take a moment to look over the anatomy and physiology of the UNFCCC (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change).

The first thing you need to know – we’re negotiating two different deals at once!

1.   The CMP: Where we’re discussing the Kyoto Protocol – an old treaty in need of some life-support.

2.   The COP: The world’s ‘New Deal’, The new, more comprehensive climate deal, designed to function in parallel to the Kyoto Protocol (KP)

1)  The Kyoto Protocol  – An oldy but a goody…

The Kyoto Protocol (KP), signed under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and operational by 2005. The KP is an old favourite, around which much of the current national policy on Climate Change mitigation is based.

Notably, the Kyoto Protocol had every government in the world (except for the USA) agree on a combined reduction in their emissions of 5%, based on 1990 levels by the end of 2012. One of the big discussions that have been occurring over the last 6 months, has been whether or not those commitment periods should be strengthened in to 2012 and beyond.

2) The “New Deal” (The COP) – A Comprehensive Plan for Action

In 2007 (COP13), governments of the world rallied together to create an even stronger framework for action, to be negotiated through the Ad-Hock Working Group for Long Term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA).

This new text is composed of 5 key components:

a) Mitigation: the LCA discusses ways to directly decrease the emissions of countries, so as to avoid the possible “runaway effects of climate change”. Here we talk about appropriate targets, the reduction of emissions due to Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and green energy. –

b) Technology Transfer: The COP also talks about ways in which countries can work together to mutually benefit from each other’s research. If we work together here, we can accelerate mitigation action on Climate Change. Members of our delegation have been hard at work (and very successful!) in proposing submissions to international finance bodies such as the G20 summit surrounding Technology Transfer.

c) Finance:  In addition to this, we also need to talk about how we’re going to pay for all of this! This is where the GEF (the Global Environmental Facility) comes in, the environmental branch of the World Bank which we currently use to direct funds. At COP16, a NEW funding mechanism was brainstormed, which would be under the direct control of the Plenary, not under the control of the World Bank.

d) Adaptation: Unfortunately, Climate Change has come so far, that there are some effects that are already happening today, and some effects that we wont be able to avoid. For these, we must ensure that countries which are most vulnerable have the ability to protect themselves from these effects. This can take many forms depending on the geography of a country, and ranges from the adequate surveillance of disease/training of health professionals through to the construction of buildings which can withstand the increased frequency and severity of natural disasters.

e) Capacity Building: This is all about making sure that countries from the Global North support those from the Global South in all of the above actions. Inherent in the nature of climate change as an issue, it requires everyone to be on board for our joint actions to be effective. In essence, “No man gets left behind”.

At Bonn, and in to the future, the governments of the world must not allow themselves to be slowed down by short-sighted selfish political interests and bureaucracy. The framework for action is set, we have clear and measurable steps to take as an international community. Together, these five pillars of Mitigation, Technology Transfer, Finance, Adaptation and Capacity Building can steer our planet towards a greener economy.

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