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Updates from the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2014

Updates from the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2014

Pravin Jadhav and Dr. Ram Babu

The 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) and the 10th Conference serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) were held in Lima, Peru from 1-12th December 2014 (actually extended till 14th). This is the annual meeting of the countries that are signatories to the UNFCCC to decide further approach / agreement to tackle climate change. Earlier in 2012 at Doha meeting, the countries had adopted an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to extend the second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020. Further, in 2013 meeting at Warsaw in Poland, countries had agreed to work on an international agreement for post 2020 period.

The meeting started with not many expectations as there were no major pre-meeting announcements barring a loose[1] US-China climate deal. This meeting was mostly expected to develop draft for further negotiations in 2015. A brief summary of the important decisions and events is presented here.

Lima Document and components for post 2020 deal

  1. The event resulted in 196 countries adopting the ‘Lima call for climate action’[2]

  2. The adopted documents also has an Annex on ‘Elements for a draft negotiating text’ for the post 2020 deal

  3. The draft is mostly an early version agreed to keep hopes alive and issues to be fought in COP 21 meeting at Paris in 2015, which is the deadline to finalise the agreement. The draft keeps all options open including its legal binding status and any quantum of emission reduction under the national commitments.

  4. The document however mentions ‘basis of equity and in accordance with historical responsibility and common but differentiated responsibilities’ which are important from protecting developing countries’ interests

  5. The document also stressed need to keep ‘temperature rise below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels include substantial cuts in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century and net emission levels near zero gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or below in 2100’

  6. Under the post 2020 deal, the countries committed to present their ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)’ that is set of actions or targets that individual countries will volunteer to mitigate climate change under the new agreement.

  7. The INDCs can include mitigation, adaptation and the commitment and its progress reports will be made publicly available.

  8. The countries will meet in Paris in November 2015 to finalise the post 2020 deal and there are few rounds of meeting, discussions before the meetings throughout next year

Climate Finance

  1. The developed countries had agreed to provide $100 billion a year for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries under the Green Climate Fund GCF. The fund reached commitments just over 10 billion which will enable start of its operations now.

  2. The GCF has started accreditation process of implementation agencies through the national focal points. These accredited agencies will later submit projects proposals from mid of 2015.

  3. There was no roadmap set on achieving $100 billion during this meeting

Market Mechanisms

  1. In Durban at the COP-17, Parties had decided that a new international market mechanism (NMM) should be established under the UNFCCC that will complement the CDM and JI.

  2. Before COP 20, technical paper on both the NMM and Framework for Various Approaches (FVA) were available for discussion

  3. However, in absence of a post 2020 deal, some countries opposed discussion on these saying in absence of clarity on its role in the final deal, it is not apt to discuss now

  4. The EU and small island nations etc. were of the view to continue these discussions. However, the official talks on this issue were inconclusive.

  5. There were Board meetings of CDM and JI before COP meeting and some operational improvements were approved.

Doha Amendment (Kyoto Protocol II – 2013 to 2020)

  1. The present status of the ratification of the Doha Amendment (Kyoto Protocol 2013-20) remains poor. Only 22 countries have ratified it till 17 December 2014[1]. The reason behind it could be lengthy approval process in individual countries that includes approvals from Parliament or equivalent.

  2. In a recent report, the European Union is deciding to ratify the protocol[2].

  3. The protocol can come in force once ratified by 144 countries out of 192 total signatories of UNFCCC.

Word Play from the Lima Call

Following is an interesting summary of prominent words in the Lima paper and its annex, the number of times it appears and its significance.S.N.Word# appearancesSignificance1Adaptation159Adaptation features more significantly than mitigation. This means countries may be concentrating more on adaptation already assuming irreversible climate change impacts are almost certain.2Mitigation125Mitigation features lesser than adaptation. This may give indication of efforts and finance available from countries could go to adaptation significantly.3Market15As role of markets is not decided in post 2020 deal, the word features lesser significantly.4To do so16The difference in developed and developing countries is reduced in few commitments / expectations. All countries with capacity ‘to do so’ are expected to contribute to efforts under the future deal.5Finance81The finance word features prominently in the paper representing significant gap in the finance pledges for required efforts on the mitigation and adaptation front.

[1] https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XXVII-7-c&chapter=27&lang=en

[2] http://www.rtcc.org/2014/12/17/eu-decides-to-ratify-kyoto-protocol-extension/

[1] US has actually watered down its earlier announcement of 30% emission reduction till 2025 to 26-28% now

[2] http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/lima_dec_2014/application/pdf/auv_cop20_lima_call_for_climate_action.pdf

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