Day 3: COY Day two; About COP Processes

6 Dec

The Conference of youth is an organized introductory weekend for international youth to gather, hear workshops, discuss, and empower.  On the mornings of Saturday the 5 and Sunday the 6 we attended workshops related to the Conference as well as injustice issues, communications, change-making, etc.  The following is a summary of two workshops explaining what COP and YOUNGO are, as well as UNFCCC processes and relevant information.

Day 1: What are COP and YOUNGO?

-United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

-COP: Conference of Parties

-CMP: Conference Meeting of Parties (Kyoto parties; all COP parties except USA)

-There are three ways youth can get involved:

1. Intervention: youth can request an intervention be announced at a COP, CMP, AWG-KP, AWG-LCA, SBSTA, or SBI meeting

2. Action: reminder that include intergenerational cooperation important

3. Coffee Session; casual

-YOUNGO and its various teams/working groups

-Administrative (BLG, Bottom-Lining Group) to collect and redistribute information

-Plenary: open to everyone; interventions happen here, main groups have been displaced due to a prejudice

-Contact Groups: closed to media, open to everyone else

-Informal groups: closed to everyone except governmental organizations

-KlimaForum: by Danish government as an educational substitute to the convention

Day 2: UNFCCC Processes

The Framework Convention is simply a “Framework”, an empty box, which was meant to be filled by the Kyoto Protocol (KP).  In 2012 the first commitment period of the KP expires, although all the targets and concepts are still in force; there is no expiry date for the KP as a whole!  Before anything in international law can come into effect it must be ratified: while a nation’s leader/representative can sign onto a committment, once he/she brings it back home it can be ratified or not (accepted or rejected) by parliament, congress, or other elected representatives.

The UNFCCC has many articles, the most important of which are Articles 2, 3, 4, and 5.  Article 2 deals with overall and specific objectives and definition within these objectives (the overarching goal being the prevention of dangerous anthropogenic interferences with the climate system.  Article 3 describes principles of the Convention, such as the precautionary approach, sustainable development, rights of future generations, international cooperation, and common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR; measured by historical responsibility and respective capacity). Sections 4 and 5 deal with commitments and education respectively.

The Kyoto Protocol contains key provisions in its articles, and is concerned with 6 greenhouse gases.  It was signed in 1997 but not enforceable until 2005.  The reason for this gap is that no country wants to be the first (and possibly only) country to ratify an agreement that so far no one else will.  In the case of the KP, the European Union initially refused to ratify it, and other nation states also refused.  Finally the EU convinced Russia to ratify the KP in 2004, which then resulted in other nations following suit and the official enforcement year of 2005.

Flexibility mechanisms exist to mitigate market imbalances.  For example, China might be able to make improvements to its coal/energy plants quite cheaply in order to improve them 10%.  However Sweden, which currently has relatively clean energy production plants because most of the cheaper improvements have already been made, would have to pay much more in order to improve their production by the same 10%.  This is partly why there are differentiated responsibilities.  Flexibility mechanisms include Emissions Trading (ETS, between regional carbon markets), the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM, for projects in developing nations – ask Zack or Julia for more information), and Joint Implementation (JI, for projects in another developed country).

The institutions involved in the UNFCCC include COP and CMP, the Secretariat (which is  facilitator that has no real negotiating power), and Subsidiary Bodies (the Subsidiary Body for Implementation, SBI, and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice, SBSTA).  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF, which is under the umbrella of the finance-run World Bank), are not official parts of the UNFCCC.

The Bali Roadmap outlines the building blocks to successful negotiations, which include mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, and finance.

PARTIES

-Annex 1: Developed nations (EU, Umbrella/usual, and Japan/USA/Canada/Norway/New Zealand – JUSCANNZ)

-Non-annex 1: Developing nations (China, Least Developed Countries – LDCs, OPEC – oils exporters, and Small Island States – AOSIS SIDS; often includes the environmental integrity group)

OBSERVERS:  Other states, international organizations civil societies, and press

There were also two other workshops on climate injustice and on organizing fr power, but these were less relevant and not nearly as substantial.  So, that’s pretty well a summary of all UNFCCC items from my COY experience!

Elaine

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