The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has said that, at its Eighteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) held recently in Doha, Qatar, governments took the next essential step in the global response to climate change.
According to the UN body, countries have successfully launched a new commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, agreed a firm timetable to adopt a universal climate agreement by 2015 and agreed a path to raise necessary ambition to respond to climate change. They also endorsed the completion of new institutions and agreed ways and means to deliver scaled-up climate finance and technology to developing countries, it added..
“Doha has opened up a new gateway to bigger ambition and to greater action – the Doha Climate Gateway. Qatar is proud to have been able to bring governments here to achieve this historic task. I thank all governments and ministers for their work to achieve this success. Now governments must move quickly through the Doha Climate Gateway to push forward with the solutions to climate change,” said COP President Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah.
UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, called on countries to swiftly implement what has been agreed in Doha so that the world can stay below the internationally agreed maximum two degrees Celsius temperature rise.
“I congratulate the Qatar Presidency for managing a complex and challenging conference. Now, there is much work to do. Doha is another step in the right direction, but we still have a long road ahead. The door to stay below two degrees remains barely open. The science shows it, the data proves it,” said Ms. Figueres.
“The UN Climate Change negotiations must now focus on the concrete ways and means to accelerate action and ambition. The world has the money and technology to stay below two degrees. After Doha, it is a matter of scale,
speed, determination and sticking to the timetable,” she said.
In Doha, governments also successfully concluded work under the Convention that began in Bali in 2007 and ensured that remaining elements of this work will be continued under the UN Climate Change process.
The next major UN Climate Change Conference – COP 19/ CMP 9 – will take place in Warsaw, Poland, at the end of 2013.
The results of COP18/CMP8 in more detail:
1) Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol, as the only existing and binding agreement under which developed countries commit to cutting greenhouse gases, has been amended so that it will continue as of 1 January 2013.
A) Governments have decided that the length of the second commitment period will be 8 years.
B) The legal requirements that will allow a smooth continuation of the Protocol have been agreed.
C) The valuable accounting rules of the protocol have been preserved
D) Countries that are taking on further commitments under the Kyoto Protocol have agreed to review their emission reduction commitments at the latest by 2014, with a view to increasing their respective levels of ambition
E) The Kyoto Protocol’s Market Mechanisms – the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI) and International Emissions Trading (IET) – can continue as of 2013
F) Access to the mechanisms will be uninterrupted for all developed countries that have accepted targets for the second commitment period
G) JI will continue to operate, with the agreed technical rules allowing the issuance of credits, once a host country’s emissions target has been formally established
H) As part of accounting rules, provisions relating to carry-over of assigned amount units from the first to the second commitment period were further developed, aiming to strengthen the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol regime. In addition, Australia, the EU, Japan, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland clarified, through declarations attached to the Doha decision on the second commitment period, that they will not purchase such surplus units from other Parties.
2) Time table for the 2015 global climate change agreement and increasing ambition before 2020
Governments have agreed to speedily work toward a universal climate change agreement covering all countries from 2020, to be adopted by 2015, and to find ways to scale up efforts before 2020 beyond the existing pledges to curb emissions so that the world can stay below the agreed maximum 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise.
A) A significant number of meetings and workshops are to be held in 2013 to prepare the new agreement and to explore further ways to raise ambition.
B) Governments have agreed to submit to the UN Climate Change Secretariat, by 1 March 2013, information, views and proposals on actions, initiatives and options to enhance ambition.
C) Elements of a negotiating text are to be available no later than the end of 2014, so that a draft negotiating text is available before May 2015.
D) In Doha, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced he would convene world leaders in 2014 to mobilize the political will to help ensure the 2015 deadline is met.
3) Completion of new infrastructure
In Doha, governments significantly advanced the completion of new infrastructure to channel technology and finance to developing nations and move toward the full implementation of this infrastructure and support.
Most importantly, they have:
A) endorsed the selection of the Republic of Korea as the location of the Green Climate Fund and the work plan of the Standing Committee on Finance. The Green Climate Fund is expected to start its work in Sondgo in the second half of 2013, which means that it can launch activities in 2014.
B) confirmed a UNEP-led consortium as host of the Climate Technology Center (CTC), for an initial term of five years. The CTC, along with its associated Network, is the implementing arm of the UNFCCCs Technology Mechanism. Governments have also agreed the constitution of the CTC advisory board.
4) Long-term climate finance
A) Developed countries have reiterated their commitment to deliver on promises to continue long-term climate finance support to developing nations, with a view to mobilizing 100 billion USD both for adaptation and mitigation by 2020.
B) The agreement also encourages developed countries to increase efforts to provide finance between 2013-15 at least to the average annual level with which they provided funds during the 2010-2012 fast-start finance period. This is to ensure there is no gap in continued finance support while efforts are otherwise scaled up.
C) Governments will continue a work programme on long-term finance during 2013 under two co-chairs to contribute to the on-going efforts to scale up mobilization of climate finance and report to the next COP on pathways to reach that target.
D) Germany, the UK, France, Denmark, Sweden and the EU Commission announced concrete finance pledges in Doha for the period up to 2015, totalling approximately $6 billion.
Other key outcomes of COP18/CMP8 in Doha
A) Governments have launched a robust process to review the long-term temperature goal. This will start in 2013 and conclude by 2015, and is a reality check on the advance of the climate change threat and the possible need to mobilize further action.
A) Governments have identified ways to further strengthen the adaptive capacities of the most vulnerable, also through better planning.
B) A pathway has been established towards concrete institutional arrangements to provide the most vulnerable populations with better protection against loss and damage caused by slow onset events such as rising sea levels.
C) Ways to implement National Adaptation Plans for least developed countries have been agreed, including linking funding and other support.
Support of developing country action
A) Governments have completed a registry to record developing country mitigation actions that seek recognition or financial support. The registry will be a flexible, dynamic, web-based platform.
B) A new work programme to build capacity through climate change education and training, create public awareness and enable the public to participate in climate change decision-making has been agreed in Doha. This is important to create a groundswell of support for embarking on a new climate change regime after 2020
New market mechanisms
A) A work programme has been agreed to further elaborate the new market-based mechanism under the UNFCCC, and also sets out possible elements for its operation.
B) A work programme to develop a framework for recognizing mechanisms established outside the UNFCCC, such as nationally-administered or bilateral offset programmes, and to consider their role in helping countries to meet their mitigation targets, has also been agreed.
Actions on forests
A) In Doha, governments have further clarified ways to measure deforestation, and to ensure that efforts to fight deforestation are supported.
Carbon Capture and Storage
A) Governments meeting in Doha have looked at ways to ensure the effectiveness and environmental integrity of projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism that capture and store carbon emissions
Development and transfer of technology
A) Countries have taken forward work on enabling the development and transfer of technologies that can help developing countries adapt and curb their emissions.
Avoiding negative consequences of climate action
A) In some cases, the implementation of actions that reduce emissions could result in negative economic or social consequences for other countries. In Doha, governments discussed measures to address such consequences in a special forum.
With 195 Parties, the UNFCCC has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 193 of the UNFCCC Parties. Under the Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.