Category Archives: COP17 Durban

COP17 Durban

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Canada’s withdrawal from Kyoto Protocol regrettable – UN climate official

 

13 December 2011 - Canada’s decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol is surprising and regrettable, the United Nations climate change chief Christiana Figueres said today, calling on developed countries to meet the commitments they recently made at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa.

“I regret that Canada has announced it will withdraw and am surprised over its timing,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

“Whether or not Canada is a Party to the Kyoto Protocol, it has a legal obligation under the Convention to reduce its emissions, and a moral obligation to itself and future generations to lead in the global effort,” she said. “Industrialized countries, whose emissions have risen significantly since 1990, as is the case for Canada, remain in a weaker position to call on developing countries to limit their emissions.”

Ms. Figueres urged developed countries to meet their responsibilities under the UNFCCC and “raise their ambition to cut emissions and provide the agreed adequate support to developing countries to build their own clean energy futures and adapt to climate change impacts they are already experiencing.”

Last weekend, the 194 parties to the UNFCCC agreed on a package of decisions, known as the Durban Platform, which include the launch of a protocol or legal instrument that would apply to all members, a second commitment period for the existing Kyoto Protocol and the launch of the Green Climate Fund.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new set of decisions, saying they represent a significant agreement that will define how the international community will address climate change in the coming years.

“The Durban agreement to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol represents the continued leaderships and commitment of developed countries to meet legally binding emission reduction commitments,” Ms. Figueres stressed. “It also provides the essential foundation of confidence for the new push towards a universal, legal climate agreement in the near future.”

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Ban welcomes climate change deal reached at UN conference in Durban

 

11 December 2011 - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed today the set of decisions reached by countries at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, saying they represent a significant agreement that will define how the international community will address climate change in the coming years.

After extended negotiations over the weekend, the 194 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed on a package of decisions, known as the Durban Platform, which include the launch of a protocol or legal instrument that would apply to all members, a second commitment period for the existing Kyoto Protocol and the launch of the Green Climate Fund.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson Mr. Ban said the new accord is “essential for stimulating greater action and for raising the level of ambition and the mobilization of resources to respond to the challenges of climate change.”

Mr. Ban also welcomed the agreement to establish a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, stating it will “increase certainty for the carbon market and provide additional incentives for new investments in technology and the infrastructure necessary to fight climate change.”

In addition, Mr. Ban said he was gratified that countries reached decisions to implement the Cancun Agreements, which were created at last year’s conference in Mexico. The new measures include setting up a Technology Mechanism that will promote access by developing countries to clean, low-carbon technologies, and establishing an Adaptation Committee that will coordinate adaptation activities on a global scale.

Mr. Ban also welcomed the launch of the Green Climate Fund and said he was gratified that a number of countries signalled their intent to contribute to it. The Fund was created last year to help developing nations protect themselves from climate impacts and build their own sustainable futures, but had not been launched yet, and Mr. Ban had urged developed countries throughout the two-week conference to inject the necessary capital to kick-start it.

“Taken together, these agreements represent an important advance in our work on climate change,” Mr. Ban said, calling on countries to “quickly implement these decisions and to continue working together in the constructive spirit evident in Durban.”

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Durban climate conference delivers breakthrough

 

11 December 2011 - Countries meeting in Durban, South Africa, have delivered a breakthrough on the future of the international community’s response to climate change, whilst recognizing the urgent need to raise their collective level of ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep the average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

“We have taken crucial steps forward for the common good and the global citizenry today. I believe that what we have achieved in Durban will play a central role in saving tomorrow, today,” said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and President of the Durban UN Climate Change Conference (COP17/CMP7).

“I salute the countries who made this agreement. They have all laid aside some cherished objectives of their own to meet a common purpose – a long-term solution to climate change. I sincerely thank the South African Presidency who steered through a long and intense conference to a historic agreement that has met all major issues,” said Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In Durban, governments decided to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change as soon as possible, but not later than 2015. Work will begin on this immediately under a new group called the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

Governments, including 38 industrialised countries, agreed a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol from January 1, 2013. To achieve rapid clarity, Parties to this second period will turn their economy-wide targets into quantified emission limitation or reduction objectives and submit them for review by May 1, 2012.

“This is highly significant because the Kyoto Protocol’s accounting rules, mechanisms and markets all remain in action as effective tools to leverage global climate action and as models to inform future agreements,” Ms.Figueres said.

A significantly advanced framework for the reporting of emission reductions for both developed and developing countries was also agreed, taking into consideration the common but differentiated responsibilities of differentcountries.

In addition to charting the way forward on reducing greenhouse gases in the global context, governments meeting in South Africa agreed the full implementation of the package to support developing nations, agreed lastyear in Cancun, Mexico.

“This means that urgent support for the developing world, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable to adapt to climate change, will also be launched on time,” said Ms Figueres.

The package includes the Green Climate Fund, an Adaptation Committee designed to improve the coordination of adaptation actions on a global scale, and a Technology Mechanism, which are to become fully operational in 2012 (see below for details).

Whilst pledging to make progress in a number of areas, governments acknowledged the urgent concern that the current sum of pledges to cut emissions both from developed and developing countries is not high enoughto keep the global average temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

They therefore decided that the UN Climate Change process shall increase ambition to act and will be led by the climate science in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and the global Review from 2013-2015.

“While it is clear that these deadlines must be met, countries, citizens and businesses who have been behind the rising global wave of climate action can now push ahead confidently, knowing that Durban has lit up abroader highway to a low-emission, climate resilient future,” said the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

The next major UNFCCC Climate Change Conference, COP 18/ CMP 8, is to take place 26 November to 7 December 2012 in Qatar, in close cooperation with the Republic of Korea.

Details of key decisions that emerged from COP17 in Durban

Green Climate Fund

•       Countries have already started to pledge to contribute to start-up costs of the fund, meaning it can be made ready in 2012, and at the same time can help developing countries get ready to access the fund, boostingtheir efforts to establish their own clean energy futures and adapt to existing climate change.

•       A standing Committee is to keep an overview of climate finance in the context of the UNFCCC and to assist the Conference of the Parties. It will comprise 20 members, represented equally between the developed and developing world.

•       A focussed work programme on long-term finance was agreed, which will contribute to the scaling up of climate change finance going forward  and will analyse options for the mobilisation of resources from a variety of sources.

Adaptation

•       The  Adaptation Committee, composed of 16 members, will report to the COP on its efforts to improve the coordination of adaptation actions at a global scale.

•       The adaptive capacities above all of the poorest and most vulnerable countries are to be strengthened. National Adaptation Plans will allow developing countries to assess and reduce their vulnerability to climate change.

•       The most vulnerable are to receive better protection against loss and damage caused by extreme weather events related to climate change.

Technology

•       The Technology Mechanism will become fully operational in 2012.

•       The full terms of reference for the operational arm of the Mechanism – the Climate Technology Centre and Network – are agreed, along with a clear procedure to select the host. The UNFCCC secretariat will issue a call for proposals for hosts on 16 January 2012.

Support of developing country action

•       Governments agreed a registry to record developing country mitigation actions that seek financial support and to match these with support. The registry will be a flexible, dynamic, web-based platform.Other key decisions

•       A forum and work programme on unintended consequences of climate change actions and policies were established.

•       Under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism, governments adopted procedures to allow carbon-capture and storage projects. These guidelines will be reviewed every five years to ensure environmental integrity.

•       Governments agreed to develop a new market-based mechanism to assist developed countries in meeting part of their targets or commitments under the Convention. Details of this will be taken forward in 2012.