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 3 through 14, 2018
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
May 10 2018: Climate talks in Bonn limp over the finish line. There is much left to do before the critical Katowice summit in December. The old firewall between rich and poor countries refuses to be extinguished, to the EU’s dismay. That and a lack of progress on climate finance have put a drag on the writing of a rulebook for the Paris climate deal. link
May 8 2018: Bonn stalemate leaves organizers scrambling. The UN will hold further talks in Bangkok in September after lacklustre progress in Bonn. Countries have spent the past nine days in Bonn, negotiating the rules that will govern the Paris Agreement, with a decision due in December in Katowice. But dealmakers have become bogged down in technical detail. link
April 30 2018: UN Bonn talks – dramatic action needed. The 12-day 200-nations technical talks in Bonn are focused on hammering out an “operating manual” for the landmark 2015 Paris climate pact, which calls for capping global warming at “well below” 2C and 1.5C if possible. The Paris Agreement calls for revisiting nations’ carbon-cutting pledges in 2023, but on current trends, experts warn, that may be too late. link
April 16 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 at the major annual talks, to be held 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. Chruszczow argues that enthusiastic declarations by countries such as Germany, which junked its 2020 climate target to little fanfare last month, are worth little when compared with Poland’s “achievements so far.” Poland has long stood apart from mainstream European ambition to clean up the environment. It remains coal dependent, opposed to onshore wind power, resistant to emissions cuts and obstructive towards wider environmental protections. link
(January 2018) Polish police set to restrict protest and gather personal data at COP-24 – link
|Other pages on international actions:|
COP-23: Bonn November 2017
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 25 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
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)|
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
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
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.