Climate convention

On January 1, 2010, in uncategorized, by Admin

The UN Climate Convention and its Kyoto Protocol are the centerpiece of the international response to climate change.

The Convention was agreed at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, along with the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21 and other conventions on biological diversity and desertification. It now has near universal membership with over 194 parties.

It’s objective is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous human interference with the climate system, in a time frame that:

  • protects ecosystems
  • ensures food security
  • enables sustainable economic development (Article 2)

The objective is to be achieved in accordance with a number of principles including:

  • equity
  • common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities
  • precaution
  • cost effectiveness
  • international cooperation
  • avoiding unjustified trade discrimination (Article 3)

The Convention defines common responsibilities of all countries including:

  • developing greenhouse gas inventories
  • programs to mitigate and adapt
  • technology transfer in all relevant sectors
  • conserving sinks and reservoirs
  • preparing for adaptation
  • minimizing adverse impacts
  • scientific and technical cooperation
  • information exchange
  • education and training
  • communications to COP (Article 4.1)

It also defines additional responsibilities for developed countries, reflecting their differentiated responsibility for causing climate change and their greater capacity to address it.

Developed countries (listed in Annex I) have additional mitigation commitments:

  • lead in modifying emissions “consistent with objective”
  • reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2000
  • review adequacy of commitments (Article 4.2)

Wealthier developed countries (listed in Annex II) are to assist developing countries with:

  • Financial resources (Article 4.3)
  • Adaptation costs (Article 4.4)
  • Technology transfer (Article 4.5)

The Convention includes a clear hierarchy of commitments: The extent to which developing countries implement their commitments “will depend on the effective implementation by developed country Parties of their commitments under the Convention relating to financial resources and the transfer of technology” (Article 4.7).

The Convention recognizes the need to address the specific needs of transition countries (Article 4.6), vulnerable developing countries (Article 4.8) and least developed countries (Article 4.9).

The Conference of Parties is to “seek to mobilize financial resources in accordance with Article 4, paragraphs 3, 4 and 5, and Article 11 (Article 7.2).

Financial resources “on a grant or concessional basis” are to be provided through the Convention’s financial mechanism (Article 11.1).

The “amount of funding necessary and available for the implementation of the Convention” is to be determined through arrangements identified by the COP and the entity/entities entrusted with the operation of the financial mechanism (Article 11.3).

The Convention’s provisions, unfortunately, have not been fully implemented. To address implementation gaps and ensure the “full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention” countries agreed in 2007 to new negotiations under the Bali Action Plan.


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