More parties to UN climate change body commit to limit emissions

Turning to the sun for energy helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

31 March 2010 – The United Nations announced today that 75 nations have submitted their pledges to cut or limit emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020, following last year’s climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Those countries together account for more than 80 per cent of global emissions from energy use, the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said in its report of the results of the conference.

Some 41 industrialized countries have formally communicated their economy-wide targets to the Convention’s secretariat, while 35 developing countries have communicated information on the nationally appropriate mitigation actions they are planning to take, provided they receive the appropriate support in terms of finance and technology, according to the report.

“It is clear that while the pledges on the table are an important step towards the objective of limiting growth of emissions, they will not in themselves suffice to limit warming to below 2 degrees Celsius,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer.

“The Climate Conference at the end of this year in Mexico therefore needs to put in place effective cooperative mechanisms capable of bringing about significant acceleration of national, regional and international action both to limit the growth of emissions and to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change,” he added.

The report contains the text of the Copenhagen Accord and lists the 112 Parties – 111 countries and the European Union – that have indicated their support for the Accord.

“The Copenhagen Accord is not least significant because it includes a clear pledge by industrialized nations to provide short-term and long-term finance for developing countries for adaptation and mitigation,” said Mr. de Boer. “At the same time, it is clear that the Accord can be used to help advance the formal negotiations towards a successful outcome in Mexico,” he added.

The next round of UNFCCC negotiations is scheduled to be held in Bonn on 9-11 April. That meeting will be followed by a two-week negotiating round, also in Bonn, which will comprise the 32nd session of the UNFCCC Convention subsidiary bodies, between 31 May and 11 June.

With 194 Parties, UNFCCC has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 190 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.

In a related development, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing held its first meeting today in London and discussed setting priorities and a plan of action for the Group’s work, which will feed into the UNFCCC process.

The Advisory Group, which was launched on 12 February, is tasked with exploring potential sources of revenue for financing mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries.

The Group of 19 experts is co-chaired by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown, and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. Also in the group are Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana, and Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway.

The Secretary-General today appointed two additional members to the Group. They are Christine Lagarde, Finance Minister of France, and Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Finance Minister of Indonesia.

Other members include high-level officials from ministries and central banks as well as experts on public finance, development and related issues.

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