The Marrakech Climate Change Conference opens today and will continue until 18 November. The meeting comprises the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 22), the 12th session of the COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 12), and with the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on 4 November, the first COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1). In addition, the 45th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 45) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 45), and the second part of the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement (APA 1-2) will also take place.
At the Bonn Climate Change Conference in May 2016, the APA, SBI and SBSTA began negotiations on a number of issues essential to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, as outlined in Decision 1/CP.21 on the adoption of the Paris Agreement, including on: further guidance on features of the nationally determined contributions (NDCs); further guidance for the information to be provided by parties in order to facilitate clarity, transparency and understanding of NDCs; guidance for accounting for parties’ NDCs; modalities and procedures for the operation and use of the public registry; guidance to ensure that double counting is avoided on the basis of a corresponding adjustment by parties for both anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks covered by their NDCs under the Agreement; matters relating to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (cooperative approaches); further guidance in relation to the adaptation communication, including as a component of NDCs; modalities for the accounting of financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions; elaboration of the technology framework; sources of input for the global stocktake; and modalities for the global stocktake. CMA 1 is mandated to consider these and additional issues. The Marrakech conference is expected to continue this work.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNFCCC AND THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The international political response to climate change began with the 1992 adoption of the UNFCCC, which sets out a legal framework for stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Convention, which entered into force on 21 March 1994, has 197 parties. In December 1997, delegates to COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, agreed to a protocol to the UNFCCC that committed industrialized countries and countries in transition to a market economy to achieve emissions reduction targets. These countries, known as Annex I parties under the UNFCCC, agreed to reduce their overall emissions of six GHGs by an average of 5% below 1990 levels in 2008-2012 (the first commitment period), with specific targets varying from country to country. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and now has 192 parties. In December 2015, at COP 21 in Paris, France, parties agreed to the Paris Agreement that specifies that countries will submit progressively ambitious NDCs and that aggregate progress on mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation will be reviewed every five years in a global stocktake. The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 and has been ratified by 100 parties out of the 193 signatories as of 6 November 2016.
LONG-TERM NEGOTIATIONS, 2005-2009: Convening in Montreal, Canada, in 2005, the CMP 1 established the Ad Hoc Working Group on Annex I Parties’ Further Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in accordance with Protocol Article 3.9, which mandated consideration of Annex I parties’ further commitments at least seven years before the end of the first commitment period.
In December 2007, COP 13 and CMP 3 in Bali, Indonesia, resulted in agreement on the Bali Roadmap on long-term issues. COP 13 adopted the Bali Action Plan (BAP) and established the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), with a mandate to focus on mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology, capacity building and a shared vision for long-term cooperative action. Negotiations on Annex I parties’ further commitments continued under the AWG-KP. The deadline for concluding the two-track negotiations was 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
COPENHAGEN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen took place in December 2009. The high-profile event was marked by disputes over transparency and process. Late in the evening of 18 December, these talks resulted in a political agreement, the “Copenhagen Accord,” which was then presented to the COP plenary for adoption. After 13 hours of debate, delegates ultimately agreed to “take note” of the Copenhagen Accord and to extend the mandates of the negotiating groups until COP 16 and CMP 6 in 2010. In 2010, over 140 countries indicated support for the Accord. More than 80 countries also provided information on their national mitigation targets or actions.
CANCUN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, took place in December 2010, where parties adopted the Cancun Agreements and agreed to consider the adequacy of the global long-term goal during a 2013-2015 review. The Cancun Agreements established several new institutions and processes, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Cancun Adaptation Framework, the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Mechanism, which includes the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN).
DURBAN: The UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, took place in November and December 2011. Among other outcomes, parties agreed to launch the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) with a mandate “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention applicable to all Parties” no later than 2015, to enter into force in 2020. In addition, the ADP was mandated to explore actions to close the pre-2020 ambition gap in relation to the below 2°C target.
DOHA: The UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar, took place in November and December 2012. The conference resulted in a package of decisions referred to as the “Doha Climate Gateway.” These included amendments to the Kyoto Protocol to establish its second commitment period (2013-2020), and agreement to terminate the AWG-KP’s and AWG-LCA’s work and negotiations under the BAP.
WARSAW: The UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, took place in November 2013. The meeting adopted an ADP decision that, inter alia, invites parties to initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). Parties also adopted decisions establishing the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts (WIM), and the Warsaw Framework for REDD+.
LIMA: The UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, took place in December 2014. COP 20 adopted the “Lima Call for Climate Action,” which set in motion the negotiations towards the 2015 agreement by elaborating the elements of a draft negotiating text for the 2015 agreement and the process for submitting and synthesizing INDCs, while also addressing pre-2020 ambition. Parties also adopted 19 decisions that, inter alia help operationalize the WIM, establish the Lima work programme on gender and adopt the Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness-raising.
PARIS: The UN Climate Change Conference convened in Paris, France, in November and December 2015 and culminated in the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Agreement sets the goals of: keeping global average temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels; and enhancing global adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change. The Agreement creates two five-year cycles. One cycle is for parties to submit NDCs, each successive contribution representing a progression from the previous contribution, reflecting common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances. By 2020, parties whose NDCs contain a timeframe up to 2025 are requested to communicate a new NDC and parties with an NDC timeframe up to 2030 are requested to communicate or update these contributions. The second cycle is a global stocktake of collective efforts, beginning in 2023, following a facilitative dialogue in 2018. All parties are to report on their efforts using a common transparency framework, with support provided for developing countries to fulfill their reporting obligations. The Agreement establishes, inter alia, a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of GHG emissions and support sustainable development and a technology framework to provide overarching guidance to the Technology Mechanism.
PARIS AGREEMENT SIGNING CEREMONY: The signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement took place on 22 April 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York. During the ceremony, 174 countries and the European Union signed the Paris Agreement and 15 countries deposited their instruments of ratification.
BONN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE: The Bonn Climate Change Conference met from 16-26 May 2016, for the 44th sessions of the SBI and SBSTA, and for APA 1. APA 1 heard initial views on its work mandated by the Paris Agreement and adopted conclusions for further work.
The SBI and SBSTA, in addition to adopting conclusions related to their regular agenda items, also began work on issues mandated by Decision 1/CP.21 on the adoption of the Paris Agreement, including: under the SBI, the development of modalities and procedures for a public registry for NDCs, and for adaptation communications; and, under the SBSTA, the technology framework and the modalities for Article 6 of the Agreement (cooperative approaches).
MONTREAL PROTOCOL MOP 28: The 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP 28) took place from 10-14 October 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda. The MOP focused on the Dubai Pathway on Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), under which parties were mandated to continue negotiations with a view to agreeing on an amendment to the Protocol in 2016. Delegates adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which contains HFC phase-down schedules for both developed and developing countries.
14TH MEETING OF THE GCF BOARD: The Board met from 12-14 October 2016, in Songdo, Republic of Korea, approving US$745 million in funding for 10 projects in 27 countries, in the areas of both mitigation and adaptation.
IPCC-44: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened from 17-21 October 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand. The IPCC adopted 12 decisions, including on the outlines of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and of the Methodology Report to refine the 2006 IPCC Guidelines on National GHG Inventories.
PARIS AGREEMENT ENTRY INTO FORCE: The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016, 30 days after the dual entry into force requirement of ratification by at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of global GHG emissions was met. To date, 100 countries have ratified the agreement.