GETTING READY FOR COPENHAGEN










NEGOTIATIONS SCHEDULE

 

 

December 7-18

UNFCCC COP 15

Copenhagen (Denmark)

December 10-11

European Council

Brussels (Belgium)

December 2

ECOFIN Council of the EU

Brussels (Belgium)

November 30

EU-China Summit

Nankin (China)

November 27-29

Commonwealth Summit

Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago)

November 26

Amazon Countries Summit

Manaus (Brazil)

November 23

Environment Council of the EU

Luxembourg

November 20

Major Economies Forum
on Energy and Climate

Washington DC (USA)

November 18

EU-Russia Summit

Stockholm (Sweden)

November 16-17

Pre-COP 15

Copenhagen (Denmark)

November 15-18

US-China Climate Summit

Beijing (China)

November 2-6

UNFCCC Intersessional Meeting
(AWG-LCA and AWG-KP)

Barcelona (Spain)

October 7-8

Major Economies Forum
on Energy and Climate

Sydney (Australia)

Sept. 28 - Oct. 9

UNFCCC Intersessional Meeting
(AWG-LCA and AWG-KP)

Bangkok (Thailand)

September 24-25 

G20 Summit

Pittsburgh (USA)

September 21-25 

UN General Assembly
Climate Summit

New York (USA)

September 17-19

Major Economies Forum
on Energy and Climate

Washington DC (USA)


[Visit IDDRI blog and keep up with the latest news on negotiation]

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THE ISSUES

A consensus has gradually formed around the idea that the objective of controlling climate change should be to limit the average increase of temperature at 2 ° C by 2100, compared to a pre-industrial situation, thus avoiding dangerous climate change effects. To have at least a one in two chance of limiting global warming to +2 °C, the concentration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be stabilised at around 450 ppm of CO2eq. Stabilising GHG emissions at this level implies a massive reduction in emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global emissions must be 50 to 85% below 1990 levels by 2050.

But that is not all. Emissions must also reach a peak, in other words their highest level, before 2020. We must therefore act quickly. Indeed, in terms of the impact of GHG emissions on the climate, it is not the emissions level in 2050 that is important, but the emissions level over the period leading up to 2050. Thus, to have about a one in two chance of limiting global warming to +2 °C, cumulative GHG emissions must not exceed 1 750 Gt CO2eq.

The emissions reduction effort must also be a global one. Developed countries need to act on a far larger scale and more quickly than developing countries. But developing countries, especially those which have the greatest responsibility and capacities, must also contribute to the emissions reduction effort. According to Sir Nicholas Stern, if emissions per capita in India and China continue to grow at the same rate as today, they will reach a total of 47 Gt CO2e. However, to have about a one in two chance of limiting global warming to +2 °C by 2050, global emissions will have to be around 35 Gt CO2e by 2030. This would imply that 5 billion people living elsewhere than in India and China would have a negative per capita emissions level of 2 t CO2e, compared to 8 t in India and 23 t in China. This is clearly impossible. [15 slides to understand the negotiation issues]

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WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD AGREEMENT? 

A good agreement is one that sends a strong political signal, which must prove that the international community is embarking on the path to a low-carbon economy and is changing its development trajectory, decoupling the growth in GHG emissions from economic growth. And since some of the impacts of climate change are already inevitable, and the people who suffer the most from this are not the ones who bear the greatest responsibility, it is an agreement that must also prove that the international community undertakes to help the most vulnerable countries and populations.

But political will alone is not enough. A good agreement is therefore one that establishes a new legal instrument to replace the Kyoto Protocol, containing a set of incentives (technological and financial support, etc.) and constraints (sanctions in case of non-compliance with obligations) to give credibility to the international community’s commitment.

A good agreement is one that translates the scientific recommendations into economic and political terms. It is therefore an agreement that guarantees an emissions peak before 2020, and which makes it possible to halve emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. It is also an agreement that builds an effective response to this challenge, organising the tools needed for a massive restructuring of global investment. Finally, a good agreement is one in which all parties commit to undertaking ambitious initiatives because they believe it ensures equitable burden-sharing.

In practice, for two of the building blocks of the negotiations... [Read more]

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KEY FIGURES

The climate negotiations are informed by science. They are based on a number of figures (2 °C, 450 ppm CO2e, 25-40 %, etc.) that are often perceived as scientific results. In reality, the situation is more complex. Although science does inform the negotiations, the final choice of targets depends on political decisions.
Focusing on the key figures of the negotiations, this section explains their status and shows how they are interlinked.

2 °C
In July, during the Major Economies Forum (MEF) at the L’Aquila Summit, the Heads of State from the 17 highest emitting countries agreed to make the target of limiting global warming to +2 °C the beacon for international emissions reduction efforts. There are, in principle, several indicators that could serve as long-term markers: an impact level, a rise in temperatures, a GHG concentration, a level of cumulative emissions (over a period), or a reduction in emissions (by a certain date in relation to another). So why was this particular indicator chosen and, in particular, why was 2 °C chosen? And what are the questions that this choice raises today in international negotiations? [Read more]

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CONTRIBUTIONS TO DEBATES

The climate negotiations focus on five building blocks: shared vision, mitigation (divided between emissions reduction targets for developed countries and emissions limitation initiatives for developing countries), adaptation to climate change, financing and technology.
For each of these subjects, IDDRI contributes to debates by analysing the issues and making proposals. [Read more]

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