COP-out on climate

30 November 2006

The recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 12th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Nairobi has ended with much fanfare, but little by way of firm progress on climate action.

The conference was attended by around six thousand participants, among them more than 100 ministers, the secretary-general of the United Nations and two heads of state. However, while activities for the next few years were agreed to help “enhance decision making on adaptation action” and on the management of the Adaptation Fund based on proceeds generated by the clean development mechanism (CDM), there is scant evidence of a successor to Kyoto, which ends in 2012.

UN secretary general Kofi Annan also announced a move to help developing countries - especially those in Africa - to participate in the CDM and a decision was also made agreeing an open process for inclusion of Carbon Capture and Storage in the CDM.

In addition, UK environment minister David Miliband, together with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel, called for the public and private sectors to drive investment in low-carbon technology, particularly in the energy sector.

The call came as part of a three pronged approach that also includes an immediate “step change” in help for developing countries facing climate change and a follow up to the Kyoto Protocol. Miliband, added that global flows of technology that promote clean and sustainable development require the creation of clear global frameworks to harness public and private investment.

“Talks on commitments of industrialized countries for post-2012 under the Kyoto Protocol advanced well, with Parties reaching agreement on a detailed work plan spelling out the steps needed to reach agreement on a set of new commitments,” the UNFCCC said. Nonetheless, global emissions of greenhouse gases have to be reduced to well below half of levels in 2000, in order to avoid dangerous climate change, the conference heard.

Meanwhile, in 2005, globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached their highest levels ever recorded, the World Meteorological Organization’s latest Greenhouse Gas Bulletin says. Quantities of CO2 were measured at 379.1 ppm, up 0.53% from 377.1 ppm in 2004.

The next round of negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol and talks under the UNFCCC will be held in Bonn, Germany in May 2007.


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