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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

UNFCCC Crashcourse

Introduction to the Climate Regime


  • The History
  • The Convention
  • The Kyoto Protocol
  • The Institutions
  • The Negotiations
  • The Actors
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 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 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 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* 92 Latvia* 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 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 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 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

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

List of Acronyms used in this presentation

INC Intergovermental Negotiations Committee

IPCC Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change

JI Joint Implementation

JLG Joint Liaison Group

JUSCANNZ Japon, US, Canada, Norway, New Zealand

LDCs Least Developed Countries

LULUCF Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry

MRV Measurable, Reportable and Verifiable

OPEC Oil Producing Exporting Countries (?)

SBI Subsidiary Body on Implementation

SBSTA Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technical Advice

SIDS Small Island Developing States

UNEP UN Environmental Program

UNGA UN General Assembly

WMO World Meteorological Organization

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

AOSIS Alliance Of Small Island States

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

AWG-LCA Ad Hoc Working Group on Long Term Cooperative Action

CCS Carbon Capture and Storage

CDM Clean Development Mechanism

CMP Conference of Parties acting as Meeting of the Parties

COP Conference of Parties

ETS Emissions Trading Scheme

EU European Union

GEF Global Environmental Facility

GHGs GreenHouse Gases