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UNFCCC Crashcourse. Introduction to the Climate Regime sebastien@youthclimate.org. Outline. The History The Convention The Kyoto Protocol The Institutions The Negotiations The Actors. The History. The existing Climate Regime. Intergovernmental Cooperation on Science

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UNFCCC Crashcourse

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Unfccc crashcourse

UNFCCC Crashcourse

Introduction to the Climate Regime




  • The History

  • The Convention

  • The Kyoto Protocol

  • The Institutions

  • The Negotiations

  • The Actors

The history

The History

The existing climate regime

The existing Climate Regime

  • Intergovernmental Cooperation on Science

    • 1988: establishment of the IPCC by the UNEP & WMO


    • 1990: UN General Assembly Mandate

    • 1991-1992: Intergovernmental Negotiations Committee

    • 1992: Convention Signed

    • 1994: Convention entered in force

      Mainly limited to an overall objective, a few key institutions and the statements of key principles

The existing climate regime1

The existing Climate Regime

  • The Kyoto Protocol

    • 1995: The Berlin Mandate (beginning of the negotiations)

    • 1997: Protocol Signed

    • 2005: Protocol entered in force

    • 2008-2012: First Commitment Period

  • The Post-Kyoto Agreements (more detailed rules necessary to implement the KP)

    • 2001: Marrakesh Accords

The convention

The Convention

The objective

The Objective

The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the COP may adopt is to achieve, …, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

Article 2

The principles

The Principles

  • Precautionary Approach

  • Sustainable Development

  • Rights of Future Generations

  • Cooperation

  • Common but Differentiated Responsibility

    • Historical responsibility

    • Respective Capacity

      (most debated principles, no consensus on what it concretely means)

      Article 3

The main obligations

The main obligations

  • All:

    • Develop inventories of GHGs

      (Annex I pay for the costs of developing countries)

  • Only developed States:

    • Stabilisation by 2000 at the 1990 level of Annex 1 Countries (Art. 4)

    • Financial and technological transfers (not for Economies In Transitions)

The kyoto protocol

The Kyoto Protocol

The kyoto protocol1

The Kyoto Protocol

  • Ratification

    • 55/55 requirement

    • Entered into force: 2005 (with the ratification of Russia)

  • Scope:

    • 6 GHGs concerned

      CO2, Methane, N2O, HFCs, PFCs, SF6

The kyoto protocol2

The Kyoto Protocol

The kyoto protocol3

The Kyoto Protocol

  • The main obligation only for Developed states:

    • Aggregate reduction of 5% of GHG in the commitment period based on 1990 levels

      Australia 108 Greece 92 Norway 101

      Austria 92 Hungary* 94 Poland* 94

      Belgium 92 Iceland 110 Portugal 92

      Bulgaria* 92 Ireland 92 Romania* 92

      Canada 94 Italy 92 Russian Federation* 100

      Croatia* 95 Japan 94 Slovakia* 92

      Czech R* 92Latvia* 94 Slovenia* 92

      Denmark 92 Liechtenstein 92 Spain 92

      Estonia* 92 Lithuania* 92 Sweden 92

      E.U. 92 Luxembourg 92 Switzerland 92

      Finland 92 Monaco 92 Ukraine* 100

      France 92 Netherlands 92 UK, Northern Ireland 92

      Germany 92 New Zealand 100 United States† 93

    • Accompanying technical requirements

The kyoto protocol4

The Kyoto Protocol

  • The Flexibility Mechanisms

    • ETS: Emissions Trading (North-North)

      • Regional Carbon markets

    • CDM: Clean Development Mechanisms (North-South)

      • For projects in developing countries

    • JI: Joint Implementation (North-North)

      • For projects in another developed country

  • The Sinks

    • LULUCF (forest activities in developed countries) - included

    • CCS - excluded

The institutions

The Institutions

The institutions1

The Institutions

  • The Institutions

    • COPs (Conference Of the Parties): Main decision-making body for matters under the convention

      • CMPs (Meeting Of the Parties): same thing for matters related to the Kyoto Protocol

    • Secretariat,

      • Facilitates the process and support parties in their implementation

    • Subsidiary Bodies, support the COP:

      • SBI: Subsidiary Body for Implementation

      • SBSTA: SB for Scientific and Technical Advice

    • The IPCC: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

    • The GEF: Global Environmental Facility

The institutions2

The Institutions



Financial Mechanism










The negotiations

The Negotiations

The on going negotiations

UNFCCC Timeframe

COP 13, 2007: Bali Road Map, detailed plan on how to move forward

COP 14, 2008: Poznan ”half way”

COP 15, 2009: Copenhagen, foreseen as the conclusion of the negotiations under the AWGs, failure

COP16, 2010: Cancun, pragmatic/incremental approach

Other International Processes

Major Economy Forum, G8, G20

Bilaterals and Regional Consultations

REDD + Partnernship

High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (AGF)

Sometime more political momentum, but less transparency and inclusiveness

The On-going Negotiations

The current negotiations process

AWG-LCA covering other issues under the Convention

Created in 2007

Workplan: Four building blocks from the Bali Road Map:

Mitigation of

Developed countries (“1b i”)

Developing countries (“1b ii”)

REDD: Reducing Deforestation in the Global South with financial support from Global North


Financial Transfers

Short Term (up to 2012)

Long Term (up to 2020)

Technological Transfers

The current negotiations process

The current negotiations process1

AWG-KP looking at issues under the Kyoto Protocol

Created in 2005

Two main issues

How to renew obligations from Annex 1 countries after the first commitment period (= after 2012)

Kyoto Protocol planned to work with successive commitment periods

So far agreement only on the first one up to 2012

No expiration date, but necessity to include new targets after this date

How to improve the functioning of the Kyoto Protocol in the future (forest accounting/LULUCF, Flexibility Mechanisms)

The current negotiations process

Expectations towards cop16

Expectations towards COP16

Progress and COP decisions on specific policy areas where consensus is easier

Clear mandate to move the negotiations towards a fair, ambitious and binding deal in South Africa

The current negotiations

The current negotiations

The process of negotiations

The Process of Negotiations

“The Brick”

The actors

The Actors

The parties to the convention

The parties to the Convention

The developed Countries (Annex I)

  • EU

  • Umbrella


    The developing countries (Non-Annex I)

  • G77/China (130+ countries)

  • LDCs: Least developed countries

  • OPEC: oil producing and exporting countries…

  • AOSIS (SIDS): Small Islands States

  • Africa

    One country might join more than 1 grouping: e.g. Algeria is a member of Africa, OPEC and G77/China

    The Environmental Integrity Group, with both developed (Switzerland) and developing countries (Mexico, South Korea)



  • Other States (US in the case of the KP)

  • International Organizations (WTO, UNICEF…)

  • Civil Society

    • Observer Organizations

    • Organized within 9 constituencies

      Environmental NGOs, Business and Industries, Research, Indigenous People, Gender, Trade Unions, Local Governments, Farmers, Youth

  • Press

Unfccc crashcourse

Questions ?


The unfccc


  • Key Articles of the Convention

    • 2: Objective

    • 3: Principles

    • 4: Commitments

    • 6: Education

    • 7-10: Institutions

The kyoto protocol5

The Kyoto Protocol

  • Key Provisions of the Convention

    • 2: Political Actions

    • 3: Reductions of emissions

    • 4, 6, 12: Commitments

    • 5: Inventory of emissions

    • 7, 8: Sinks

    • 10: Cooperation

    • 11: Financial Transfers

Unfccc crashcourse

List of Acronyms used in this presentation

INCIntergovermental Negotiations Committee

IPCCIntergovermental Panel on Climate Change

JIJoint Implementation

JLGJoint Liaison Group

JUSCANNZJapon, US, Canada, Norway, New Zealand

LDCsLeast Developed Countries

LULUCFLand Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

MRVMeasurable, Reportable and Verifiable

OPECOil Producing Exporting Countries (?)

SBISubsidiary Body on Implementation

SBSTASubsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice

SIDSSmall Island Developing States

UNEPUN Environmental Program

UNGAUN General Assembly

WMOWorld Meteorological Organization

AGFHigh-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing (AGF)

AOSISAlliance Of Small Island States

AWG-KP Ad Hoc Working Group on further commitment for Annex I Parties of the Kyoto Protocol

AWG-LCAAd Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action

CCSCarbon Capture and Storage

CDMClean Development Mechanism

CMPConference of Parties acting as Meeting of the Parties

COPConference of Parties

ETSEmissions Trading Scheme

EUEuropean Union

GEFGlobal Environmental Facility

GHGsGreenHouse Gases

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