you're reading...
Economic and Social Policies, PUBLICATIONS

Negotiating a new UN climate agreement: Challenges on the road to Paris

Written by Gregor Erbach

A new international agreement to combat climate change is due to be adopted in December 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The current climate agreements commit developed countries to take climate action, but not developing countries, some of which have become major emitters of greenhouse gases. After the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference failed to adopt a new agreement, the 2011 Durban conference decided that a new agreement applicable to all countries should be concluded in 2015 and enter into force in 2020.

Negotiating-a-new-UN-climate-agreement

© Onidji / Fotolia

COP 20, held in December 2014 in Lima, concluded with the adoption of the ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’, a document inviting all Parties (countries) to communicate their intended contributions to post-2020 climate action well before the Paris conference. Besides action to counter global warming, it should also cover adaptation to climate change.

An annex to the ‘Lima Call’ contains elements of a draft negotiating text for the Paris Agreement (revised in February 2015). The text contains many options reflecting the divergent negotiating positions of the various countries and country groups. A new negotiating text for the Paris Agreement (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Agreement’) should be made available by May 2015.

The Lima Conference left a number of important issues unresolved. First of all, the nature of countries’ contributions is not clearly specified, which will make them hard to compare and assess. It is likely that they will not add up to the emissions reductions required to keep global warming below the internationally agreed limit of 2°C. A process for the periodic assessment and strengthening of national efforts will therefore be an important element of the Agreement. Processes for monitoring, reporting and verification of national contributions will also have to be agreed.

Another unresolved issue is the Agreement’s legal form. While some negotiators favour a strong, legally binding agreement, others prefer a bottom-up approach based on voluntary contributions. Finally, issues of fairness and equity need to be addressed, acknowledging that developed countries have a greater historical responsibility for climate change and stronger capabilities for taking action. They can therefore be expected to make a larger contribution to emissions reductions as well as to provide finance for developing countries’ climate action, although the size and extent of these contributions is far from being agreed.

The outcome of the Lima Conference presents EU climate policy with new challenges as regards shaping the Paris Agreement, and once the Paris Conference is over, to building collaborations with partners worldwide.

The probable shift from a legally binding environmental treaty towards a ‘soft’ agreement based on national contributions presents both risks and opportunities. Continued engagement with international partners is needed to achieve the transformations of the economies and energy systems required to make sure that the risks of global warming remain manageable.

Read this In-depth analysis “Negotiating a new UN climate agreement: Challenges on the road to Paris” in PDF.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Discussion

9 thoughts on “Negotiating a new UN climate agreement: Challenges on the road to Paris

  1. I think this is one of the so much significant info
    for me. And i am happy reading your article. However wanna
    remark on few common things, The web site taste is ideal, the articles is
    in reality great : D. Excellent job, cheers

    Like

    Posted by hearth tiles | June 12, 2015, 17:17
  2. Correction to : A REASONABLE DEVELOPING COUNTRY CO2 EMISSIONS TARGET

    Each developing country agrees to limit Per Capita CO2 emissions to the level of the average of the developed countries’ Per Capita CO2 emissions, at the time that each developing country’s Per Capita GDP equals half of the developed countries’ average Per Capita GDP.

    Like

    Posted by Ken Konetski | March 27, 2015, 01:59
  3. A REASONABLE DEVELOPING COUNTRY CO2 EMISSIONS TARGET

    Each developing country agrees to limit Per Capita CO2 emissions to the level of the average of the developed
    countries’ Per Capita CO2 emissions, at the time that each developed country’s GDP equals half of the developed
    countries’ average GDP.

    Like

    Posted by Ken Konetski | March 26, 2015, 15:00

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Climate negotiations in Paris: last chance for the climate, or the beginning of a long process? | Vatcompany.net - November 19, 2015

  2. Pingback: Climate negotiations in Paris: last chance for the climate, or the beginning of a long process? | European Parliamentary Research Service - November 19, 2015

  3. Pingback: Are we ready for the 2015 Conference in Paris? – EU and Member States preparedness for COP21 | Vatcompany.net - November 17, 2015

  4. Pingback: Are we ready for the 2015 Conference in Paris? – EU and Member States preparedness for COP21 | European Parliamentary Research Service - November 16, 2015

  5. Pingback: Developments in international climate policy - EuroReads - July 2, 2015

  6. Pingback: Developments in international climate policy | European Parliamentary Research Service - July 2, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Download the EPRS App

EPRS App on Google Play
EPRS App on App Store
What Europe Does For You
EU Legislation in Progress
Topical Digests
EPRS Podcasts

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,453 other followers

RSS Link to Members’ Research Service

Disclaimer and Copyright statement

The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy.

For a comprehensive description of our cookie and data protection policies, please visit Terms and Conditions page.

Copyright © European Union, 2014-2019. All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: