The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme body of the UNFCCC and has met every year since the called Berlin Mandate (COP-1) celebrated in Berlin in 1995. Over 20 years some historical and remarkable events have conducted recent commitments for the COP21. Some key points are defined below:
- COP-1, the first Conference of the Parties aimed to reaffirm the commitments established in the convention without the introduction of any new commitment and to declare it as “mater of urgency”, looking the adoption of results at the COP-3 in 1997.
- During COP-2 celebrated in Geneva was submitted a Ministerial Declaration to accelerate legally binding protocol, especially quantifying and limiting GHGs emissions during a timeframe.
- COP-3 was one of the must significant conferences; by setting that the industrialised countries should not individually or jointly exceed the established limit of GHG emission. Other important aspects were: establishment of reduction of commitment period, defining the covered six gases, (there were several disagreement deciding whether the list three or six gases), emissions trading, policies and measures.
- In 1998, COP-4 celebrated in Argentina did not have the expected progress, however, the conference concluded by postponing two years to set credit trading and clean development mechanism.
- During COP-6 the EU was willing to admission to use sinks as a climate measure, but it was strongly debated by the US-led Umbrella Group causing the breakdown of the conference celebrated in 2000 in The Hague. Furthermore, the EU in COP-4 did not present a concrete proposal and several disagreements did not allow them to have effective leadership until the US exit in March 2001.
- COP-16 celebrate in Cancun in 2010 established a review of the 1.5 °C commitment by 2015, setting up the Green Climate Fund to get $100billion per year by 2020 to assist developing countries with technology and capacity building support.
- COP-17 looking beyond 2012 was the conference celebrate in 2011 in Durban where, it was taken the important decision of move into a second period for reducing GHG emissions and maintaining the global average temperature below 2°C or 1.5°C by 2020 and looking for working towards reducing global emissions by 2050.
- COP-18 aimed to negotiate controversial topics such as legally binding and climate change agreements for coming years. Also, mandatory agreed to maintain the global average temperature below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to continue with common but differentiated responsibility in principle, providing technological and financial support to developing countries.
In fact, lessons have been learned through all the process of transforming political statements into legal responsibilities. However, the emission reduction needed to maintain temperatures bellow 2°C has not been reached, in which most of the responsibilities have been allocated on developed countries, despite that developing countries such as China, India and Brazil have also big responsibility on GHG emissions; it shows that all developing countries do not have the same conditions within the game.
Let’s wait for good strategies from COP21…???
Read more at:
P Birnie, A Boyle and C Redgwell, International environmental law & the Environment (3rd ed, 2009), 107.
K E Makuch and R Pereira, Environmental and Energy Law (2012), 141.
Risa Kumazawa and Michael S. Callaghan, ‘The Effect of the Kyoto Protocol on carbon dioxide Emissions’ (2012) 36 Journal of Economics and Finance 210, 202.
H Ziesing, ‘Climate Change Policies in the wake of the first UN conference of the Parties in Berlin’ (1995) 32 Economic Bulletin 9, 9.
Brendan P. McGivern, ‘Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change: Kyoto Protocol’ (1998) 37 International Legal Materials 22, 23.
Jon Hovi, Tora Skodvin and Steinar Andresen, ‘The persistence of the Kyoto Protocol: why other Annex I Countries move on without the United States’ (2003) Global Environmental Politics 3, 4.