Tuesday, 7th August 2012
UK: The road to UNFCCC COP 18 and beyond
Source: House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee (UK)
From the Introduction:
In 1992 154 countries joined a treaty to “cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.” This was called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
In 2011 the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) of the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, agreed the “Durban Platform for Enhanced Action”. This launched a new process within the UNFCCC: “to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force [...] applicable to all Parties”. WWF-UK described this as a “major breakthrough” as “for the first time, all countries have agreed to be brought under one legally binding framework to address climate change.” It is expected that this new agreement will be adopted at COP21 in 2015, and will be implemented from 1 January 2020. A new Ad Hoc Working Group is currently preparing the framework for negotiations.
The UK’s ambition to reduce its emissions by 80% by 2050, legislated for in the Climate Change Act 2008, shows climate leadership—rather than trying to do the minimum the UK and the EU are sending out the right signal that this should be a race for increased ambition.
The Committee heard from Professor Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the Government, that one of the key assets the UK has is the consensus among all three major political parties on the need to manage climate change. As pointed out by Sir David, “One of the saddest things about the development of the political situation around climate change in the United States is that it has been politicised, and one of the great advantages of the British system is that we have all three major parties fully in agreement on managing the issue of climate change.”
The EU needs as many allies in its negotiating position as possible. Australia is a valuable new ally, as it will bring a group of other nations with it. However it is critically important to foster alliances with Brazil, China, India and South Africa. The key issue for these economies and other developing nations is finding an equitable solution to climate change.
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By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes is currently an Information Services Librarian with the London Borough of Havering.
In this role, he has particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by Free Pint Ltd. in 2007. He is also involved in training and publicising online reference resources and is a regular contributor to DocuTicker.
Adrian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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