Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
 from Kyoto to Katowice 2018


The UN talks commenced in 1992 with annual conferences since then producing no comprehensive binding agreements. The Kyoto Protocol came into force February 2005 – disagreements at subsequent international meetings (Copenhagen, Cancun etc.) have indicated that at the governmental level, ability to bring climate change under control is failing. With global warming accelerating and rising carbon emissions, the world is moving too slowly to prevent serious damage to the ecosystem on which life depends. This raises prospects of rising sea-levels, food shortages and increasingly extreme weather disasters such as floods and droughts which have occurred with greater frequency, particularly since 2010.
Hope may rest increasingly on initiatives by other organizations such as IRENA, the C40 cities imitative, and actions by business leaders and entrepreneurs to act where governments, especially Canada and the USA, which are deadlocked and subject to pressure from “Business-as-Usual” energy corporations which have led to a virtual paralysis in leadership. The Doha conference (2012) reached an agreement to extend the life of the Kyoto Protocol until 2020, meaning that a successor to the protocol is set to be developed by 2015 and implemented by 2020.  Poland will host COP-24 in Katowice from December 2 through 14, 2018 (Decision to begin a day early – link)
COP-25 will take place from November 11-22, 2019, at a location to be determined.  


  • Preparation for COP-24
  • COP-23: Bonn November 2017
  • Post Paris – Morocco COP-22
  • History of Kyoto
  • COP-21 – Paris 2015
  • COP-20 in Lima, Peru
  • Highlights from earlier COP conferences
 COP-24 Katowice news

Sept. 2: UN climate talks in Bangkok.  2018 is the deadline to finalise the “rule book” for the 2015 Paris treaty to cap the rise in global temperatures at below 2C. Unless detailed rules of implementation covering dozens of contentious and unresolved issues are agreed upon, the landmark treaty could run aground. The most persistent sticking points in the UN talks revolve around money.  link  Sept. 5:  Developed nations blocking climate finance. Developed countries are not taking their commitment to generate $100 billion in climate finance seriously, experts meeting in Bangkok said, possibly jeopardizing the 2015 Paris accord. Discussion on the funding is being “blocked across the board” by a group of rich nations led by the United States. link  Sept. 9: Limited progress has been made in Bangkoklink

  • May 2018: Climate talks in Bonn limp over the finish line – link
  • May 2018: Bonn stalemate leaves organizers scrambling – link
  • April 2018: UN Bonn talks – dramatic action needed – link
  • April 2018: Africa holds EU climate agenda ransom. The EU, along with the US, Canada, Australia and others, are readying themselves for a messy end-of-year fight in Katowice. Negotiators meeting late April in Bonn face demands from African countries regarding the dividing lines on rules that govern rich and poor countries. link
  • February 2018: Poland to put ‘common sense’ over climate ambition as host of UN talks. Poland’s special climate envoy, Tomasz Chruszczow, has called for the world to put “common sense” above climate ambition at this year’s COP24 summit, saying the push to increase national pledges to stop the world warming more than 1.5C should not be the focus for the world’s climate negotiators when they meet in Katowice. link                                                       

(January 2018) Polish police set to restrict protest and gather personal data at COP-24 – link

Other pages on international actions:

    • IRENA  International Renewal Energy Association
  • Other initiatives – C40Cities / Carbon War Room / Rio+20
 COP-23: Bonn November 2017

November 2017: COP-23 UN climate talks: Everything you need to know. Included was the launch of the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” led by the UK and Canada. link

November 2017: Pacific Islanders demand end to fossil fuels. A coalition of Pacific island communities on the frontlines of climate change, call for far-reaching action to combat global warming, including a complete end to fossil fuel development. link

November 2017: The pre-2020 agenda: India prepares for clashes with developed world. One of the first sticking points in Bonn will be what people involved with climate-change discussions call “the pre-2020 agenda”. In 2010, each of the developed countries pledged to reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions by specific levels by 2020 and even enhance these commitments if necessary. Until 2020, only developed countries were required to reduce emissions. Developing countries could choose not to unless they got finance and technology from the rich nations. A much-discussed review by global civil society groups in 2015 of pre-2020 emission reduction pledges showed that while countries like China and India had undertaken to bear more than their fair share of responsibility, developed countries had not. link

USA alone outside Paris Agreement:
Nicaragua signs onto Paris Agreement
 leaving Syria and USA alone outside global pact – link  Despite Trump, US climate team to forge on with Paris deal – link  Trump team to promote fossil fuels and nuclear power at Bonn talks – link   Syria to sign Paris Agreement, leaving USA alone outside pact – link
October 2017: Least Developed Countries set out their goals for Bonn. The LDC Group represents the 47 poorest nations that are especially vulnerable to climate change but have the least capacity to respond despite having done the least to cause the problem. At a recent meeting in Ethiopia, LDC chair Gebru Jember Endalew outlined the group’s priorities calling for global solidarity and the support of the international community. link  

October 2017: Big companies’ climate change targets are ‘unambitious’. New research finds nearly nine out of 10 of the world’s biggest companies have plans in place to reduce carbon emissions,  but only a fifth of them are doing so for 2030 and beyond. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) also found that only 14% of its sample of 1,073 large companies around the world had “science-based targets” – that is, goals to reduce carbon emissions which are in line with the global agreement to hold warming to no more than 2C. link

March 2017: G20 poised to signal retreat from climate-change funding pledge – link
March 2017: EU foreign ministers to strengthen climate diplomacy – link

 Post Paris –  Morocco COP-22

March 2017: Only Sweden, Germany and France are pursuing Paris climate goals, says study. Several countries have tried to gain wiggle room in the talks by pushing for measures such as a later (and higher) baseline for measuring their CO2 cuts, or greater use of forestry credits to meet the EU’s climate goal. Only Sweden’s record was judged compatible with the Paris goals. link

June 2016: Paris summit put planet on course for ‘catastrophic’ warming. In a major analysis of 10 different studies into the effect of what world leaders promised to do, researchers calculated that the planet was still on course for a temperature increase of 2.6C to 3.1C by the end of this century. Their finding was in sharp contrast to the landmark declaration in Paris in November last year that action would be taken to keep the rise to “well below” 2C and try to restrict it to 1.5C.  link

November 2016: What did Marrakech climate summit deliver? It will go down in history as the Trump COP. with an orange cloud hanging over it – not from the desert dust. Countries agreed that 2018 will be the next major meeting of talks under the Paris Agreement, and also that they’ll try and get the rulebook for it ready that year too. link 
October 2016: Company climate plans too weak to meet Paris goals. About 85% of 1,089 major companies in survey said they have set goals for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by big companies represent only 25% of the amounts needed to limit global warming under targets agreed last year in Paris. link    (The Paris Agreement entered into force on November 4 2016.) 

November 2016: Poor nations pledge deep emissions cuts. Some of the world’s poorest countries have pledged to dramatically cut their carbon emissions and rapidly move to 100% renewable power, as the UN climate summit in Marrakech drew to a close. The talks ended with what the outgoing president of the conference called a developing emergency over climate finance. link
September 2016: Paris climate goal will be difficult, if not impossible to hit – link  
September 2016: Poorer countries represented badly at COP talks –  link
April 2016: Paris climate goals may already be slipping beyond reach – link 

 History of Kyoto Protocol 

Background. The series of annual UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) talks can trace its roots to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 1997 it spawned the Kyoto Protocol which was initially adopted on December 11, 1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005. It is a protocol to the UNFCCC and as of January 2009, 183 parties had ratified the protocol (though not the USA). Under this Protocol, industrialized countries agreed to reduce their collective greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5.2% from the level in 1990. The Kyoto Protocol established legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulphur hexafluoride. (See Severn Suzuki’s speech at the Rio conference here

Kyoto extended after 2012: A second commitment period will begin on January 1, 2013 and end December 31, 2020. This period will bridge the gap between the end of the first commitment period and the beginning of the next legally binding climate agreement, to be created in the Durban Platform track, which is set to be finished in 2015 and take effect in 2020.

What is the Kyoto Protocol?
With 191 member states, the U.N. accord is the only global treaty with binding limits on climate-altering greenhouse gases. The treaty commits nearly 40 developed “Annex 1” nations that emit around a quarter of the world’s emissions to cut them domestically by an average 5% by 2012 from 1990 levels. The protocol’s first leg runs out Dec. 31 2012, and the Doha talks must agree on the modalities of a second commitment period from 2013, a move agreed upon at the last round of U.N. climate talks in South Africa a year ago. The key issues in Doha are how long the second commitment period should last, who will back it and what targets to set.

What is the IPCC? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme the (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. It is endorsed by the UN General Assembly. The IPCC is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.
Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis. The IPCC is an intergovernmental body. It is open to all member countries of the United Nations (UN) and WMO. Currently 194 countries are members of the IPCC. Governments participate in the review process and the plenary Sessions, where main decisions about the IPCC work programme are taken and reports are accepted, adopted and approved. The IPCC Bureau Members, including the Chair, are also elected during the plenary Sessions. link to IPCC web site

September 2013: Climate scientists call for overhaul of IPCC – link

 COP-21 – Paris 2015

January 2016: Paris climate deal seen costing $12.1 trillion over 25 years. If the world is serious about halting the worst effects of global warming, the renewable energy industry will require $12.1 trillion of investment over the next quarter century, or about 75% more than current projections show for its growth. That’s the conclusion of a report setting out the scale of the challenge facing policymakers. link

Paris COP-21 summary. The deal reached in Paris set goals to limit warming, phase out carbon emissions by the middle of the century, help poor countries realign their economies, and review their progress towards hitting those targets at regular intervals and designed to make it Republican-proof in the USA. (link)  However James Hansen called the agreement a fraud. “It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned. (link) Writing in the Guardian, George Monbiot said: “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. In fairness, the failure does not belong to the Paris talks, but to the whole process. A maximum of 1.5C, now an aspirational and unlikely target, was eminently achievable when the first UN climate change conference took place in Berlin in 1995. Two decades of procrastination, caused by lobbying – overt, covert and often downright sinister – by the fossil fuel lobby, coupled with the reluctance of governments to explain to their electorates that short-term thinking has long-term costs, ensure that the window of opportunity is now three-quarters shut. The talks in Paris are the best there have ever been. And that is a terrible indictment.” (link)

Short notes:

Geneva – February 2015: Paris talks won’t achieve 2°C goal – does that matter? – link
April 2014: IPCC report – averting catastrophe is eminently affordable – link
April 2014: World needs “Plan B’ on climate – link

COP-20 – Lima, Peru

December 2014: New direction for Philippines climate change policy. This article explains why the switch by the Philippine delegation in Lima to side with developed nations and abandon their leading role in the LMDC bloc (Like Minded Developing Countries), is a profound change of direction in COP talks. Developed nations’ pressure, chiefly the USA, is primarily to continue business as usual, profiting fossil fuel corporations, over significant movement on climate change. Refusal to commit support for developing nations suffering from extreme climate events is at the crux of the debate. link

Other highlights from Lima Conference:
December 2014: COP-20 a failure for human rights and social justice – link
December 2014: A change in fundamental direction – link

 Highlights from earlier COP conferences

2013 COP-19: Warsaw analysis. The diplomatic road to a new climate agreement may not end in Paris next year. A review of previous breakdowns since Copenhagen, and too high hopes for Paris talks. link
An impassioned speech by Yeb Saño of the Philippine delegation has focused attention on the serious consequences of inaction following typhoon Haiyan – view here

2012 COP 18: Doha talks end today in colossal failure – link
November 2017: The Doha Agreement and Poland. Poland aims to sign global climate deal amendment this year. The 2012 Doha Amendment forms a legal framework for CO2 reduction efforts until 2020, when the Paris climate agreement kicks in. The EU needs unanimous backing by member states to ratify the amendment as a whole and Poland is the only EU state yet to sign. In 2016 Poland, which generates most of its electricity in outdated coal-fired power stations, said it was willing to back the ratification if the European Commission guaranteed financing for new, cleaner coal-fired plants. link  

2011 COP 17- Durban: Climate talks end with late deal – link
Canada to withdraw from Kyoto protocol – link

2010 COP 16: Cancun wrap-up – The world’s governments agreed to modest steps to combat climate change and to give more money to poor countries, but they put off until next year tough decisions on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

2009 COP 15 – Copenhagen
Analysis of Copenhagen
 –  What was agreed and what was left out 
Editorial on Copenhagen by Alan Burns –