2012 will be a major milestone in the international negotiations for global cooperation to avoid dangerous climate change. It is the final year of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and it is also the year that marks 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit that gave birth to the UNFCCC and other environmental treaties. To mark this anniversary, Brazil is hosting "Rio+20" in June 2012, a major international conference that will accelerate global environmental and sustainability cooperation. Already, the United Nations Environment Program has produced a major report on Green Growth, one of the themes of the Rio+20 conference, and momentum is building for Rio to mark the moment the world turns the corner and heads towards sustainable development and environmental restoration.
Giving momentum to the Rio meeting, the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP17/CMP7) was held in Durban in South Africa in December 2011. The Durban meeting built upon the achievements of Cancun and resolved some outstanding questions about the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Durban established the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which will negotiate the creation of a new protocol or other legal outcome under the Convention that will be applicable to all countries from 2020 onwards. In the meantime, Durban also estbalished a process to increase mitigation action between now and 2015 -- to ensure that the world does not overshoot the 2 degree warming limit agreed in Cancun. The meeting also agreed to undertake a work program on how to mobilise innovative sources of finance for supporting mitigation and adaptation in developing countries, and set up the Green Climate Fund, which will be a major institution to provide this support.
For the latest from the UNFCCC negotiations, visit this page.
Stay tuned for CANA's summary of the Durban platform for Enhanced Action.
For a summary of the Cancun Agreements (from COP16 in Cancun in 2010) visit this page.
Background: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992, with the goal “to protect the climate system for present and future generations.” The full text of the Convention is available on the UNFCCC website: www.unfccc.int There are 196 parties to the UNFCCC, including the EU. Parties to the Convention have agreed to work towards achieving the Convention’s ultimate aim, of stabilising greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
The decision-making body of the UNFCCC is the Conference of Parties (COP), which meets once a year in December. Different COPs are distinguished by number. The Copenhagen talks, for example, were the 15th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, so they are known as COP15. The COP in 2011 will be COP17, and will be held in Durban, South Africa.
Background: the Kyoto Protocol
Go to CANA's background page on the Kyoto Protocol (note that some of this information pre-dates Australia's ratification -- dates of authoring are given in most cases) and read CANA's position on the rules of the Kyoto Protocol. CANA also has Kyoto Protocol archives.
About the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
IPCC Reports: All the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers reports (Science, Impacts & Adaptation, and Mitigation) can be downloaded from the IPCC website www.ipcc.ch