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COP9 Side-Event Linking Article 2 & Article 6Experiences from a role-play of future climate negotiations with students from UCL Belgium, using the interactive Java Climate Model Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Ben Matthews Micha Lauvau, François Beaumont, Philippe Marbaix, Sebastian Izquierdo, Sophie De Coninck, Mikael Ange Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve,, Institut d'astronomie et de géophysique G.Lemaître,


60 university students grouped in 17 delegations(Belgium, Denmark, Russia, USA, Australia, Saudi-Arabia, Venezuela, Brazil, Burkina-Faso, Marroco, Tuvalu, India, Greenpeace, GCC, FAO, WB/IMF, Empêcheurs)had the task to agree by consensus:* a quantitative interpretation of Article 2, * an equitable formula for funding adaptation. Such experiments help to implement Article 6 and may also highlight science and policy questions for future negotiations (our role-play was COP-11).We will also discuss how to build on this experience, involving groups around the world.


Article 6

(Any effective global agreement requires informed participation by many citizens. How to involve more people into the global dialogue?)

Article 2

(Which dangerous climate impacts must we avoid, and with how much certainty? Hence, what is a safe level of stabilisation to avoid these impacts?)

Article 2 involves risk/value judgements, many stakeholders should participate.

  • Negotiating mitigation and adaptation together helped to balance the North-South debate and may help to encourage honesty about the scientific uncertainties.
  • Using the same model, delegates could present very different cases by selecting parameters and indicators.
      • What indicator should we limit - concentrations, global temperature, sea-level, rates of change?
      • A target later in the chain shifts the burden of uncertainty from adaptation towards mitigation.
  • For both issues, various equity principles had to be considered (historical responsibility, capacity to act, need for development, uneven regional distribution of impacts, rights to share the atmosphere, etc.).
  • Should the funding of adaptation be based on the polluter-pays principle,and how should capacity to pay be balanced against sufficiency to handle impacts?
  • The political compromises were a multi-criteria stabilisation target and a multi-source adaptation fund that were challenging to interpret.
un framework convention on climate change ultimate objective article 2
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Ultimate objective (Article 2):

'...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.'

(technologies, lifestyles, policy instruments)

Emissions pathways(biogeochemical cycles)

Critical Levels

(global temperature / radiative forcing)

Critical Limits

(regional climate changes)

Key Vulnerabilities

(socioeconomic factors)

inverse calculation

article 2 needs global dialogue article 6
Article 2 needs global dialogue - Article 6

Risk/Value Judgements (including equity implications):

Impacts: Key Vulnerabilities? Acceptable level of Change?

Risk: Target Indicator? Acceptable Level of Certainty?

(choice of target indicator shifts the burden of uncertainty)

Such risk/value decisions cannot be made by scientific experts alone.

The ultimate “integrated assessment model” remains the global network of human heads.

To reach effective global agreements, we need an iterative global dialogue including citizens / stakeholders. The corrective feedback process is more important than the initial guess. So let's start this global debate!

Java Climate Model

In preparing positions for the role-play, the students used the Java Climate Model to explore options and uncertainties.

By selecting parameters / indicators, same model can "justify" diverse positions

Works in web browser, Instantly responding graphics,

Cause-effect from emissions to impacts,

Based on IPCC-TAR methods / data,

Flexible stabilisation scenarios

Regional distributions of responsibility and climate.

Transparent, open-source code,

Interface in 10 languages, 50000 words documentation

equity principles
Equity principles

Common but differentiated responsabilities (Art 3.1)

Burkina Faso

Consumption and production patterns

Development barriers

Impacts distribution

Per capita emissions

NGOs - G17, sustainable development


Historical responsabilities,

The Brasilian proposal

stabilisation levels and uncertainties
Stabilisation levels and uncertainties


Proposal of stabilisation level

Saudi Arabia

Scientific uncertainties

Other GHGs and fuels

impacts and adaptation fund
Impacts and Adaptation fund


Precaution principle (Art 3.3)

Burkina Faso

Impacts : drought and desertification

Stabilisation & Adaptation Fund proposal

Saudi Arabia

Drought and desertification


Allocation/dependent economies (art 4.10)

impacts and adaptation fund10
Impacts and Adaptation fund


Agreement on the adaptation fund


Regional impacts

Funding proposal


Low-lying coastal areas

Refugees of climate (COP 12)

conclusions of role play
Conclusions of role-play

Equity implications were key aspect of discussion

Final compromise between Russia and Tuvalu (after US quit)

Quantitative interpretation of Article 2: +Temperature rise (<1.9°C 2100-1990) + Sea-level rise (46cm 2100-1990)+ (Scientific inconsistency maybe realistic in policy compromises?)

Principles for Adaptation funds : +Tax on emissions trading + Percapita emissions & GDP formula + Principles sufficiency/capacity

personal experiences
Personal experiences

“After this simulation of international negotiations, we discovered the great inertia and complexity that rule both the climatic and diplomatic systems, the latter maybe harder to model than the former. However we all felt that it was an original and exciting human experience”

Future development to global dialogue

Such web models might provide a quantative framework for a global dialogue.

Could we combine such tools and experience to link groups from all corners of the world?

JCM also used for teaching in several countries:Univ Cath de Louvain (BE) Open University (UK), Univ Bern (CH), Univ Washington (CA),...

Group distributed across web can share model by saving snapshots of model parameters to pass to others in asynchronous web dialogue.