Year after year, the world turns it’s eyes towards the UN climate conference, and again and again final results do all but give a reasonable answer to the climate crisis. What is wrong, and how can we bring negotiations on track?

20 years ago, in 1992, the climate convention defined as its main objective the stabilization of the GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. Up till now, there is no decision on what these levels should be, and even worse, the issue is being swept of the negotiation table. Meanwhile, they rose up till 392 ppm, far above the safe upper limit  of 350 ppm as defined by respected climate scientists, like James Hanssen. The results are already clear: unprecedented arctic melting, major floods, never-seen storms, and impressive draughts.

The criteria for the blame game

One of the main reason why climate negotiations don’t advance is a never-ending blame game: most countries condition their proposed actions to commitments by others, or have reasons -like ending poverty first- to postpone climate action. They all have some criteria – reasonable or not- for passing their responsibilities to others. A serious discussion on what should be the criteria to divide the burden of the climate problem among the countries never took place. More »

The following text was written before the approval of the decision on the second commitment period. It was approved in the early hours of Sunday 11th December in Durban, as part of a more extented “Durban Package”.

In essence, all the analysis stayed the same. The only very remarkable point is that in the proposal, it the commitment period would have been 5 years. Now it is in doubt if it will be 5 or 8 years!

In the approved decision, it says:

1.  Decides that the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol shall begin on 1 January 2013 and end either on 31 December 2017 or 31 December 2020, to be decided by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol at its seventeenth session;

Throughout the whole “proposed amendment Annex” the text has both options in brackets: e.g in 3.1bis: “(…) in the commitment period 2013 to [2017][2020]“. 

Thereby, it is fundamental to take into account that a reduction of 20% in an 8-year period, is in fact 50% less than 20% reduction in a 5 year period!

On all other issues, the analysis written before the approval of the text is unchanged.

(Original text)

The new text proposal for the Kyoto Protocol states that a second commitment period will be established. That seems good news; it was what everybody was waiting for.

But, a second commitment period for what? For the sake of having it? For the sake of carbon markets? For calming public opinion?
Let’s see the good points and the bad points of the actual proposal. More »

After this morning a set of 2 negotiation texts, giving the “bigger picture” for the Durban outcome were presented, and later rejected by the G77, now a second trial has been presented.

Let’s see what it says. More »

For Part 1 on the Kyoto Protocol negotiations click here

The Mandate for the AWG-LCA

As the Climate Change Convention only has principles and general objectives, and the Kyoto Protocol is limited to mitigation issues only, the  Bali Action Plan decided in 2007 that the Convention should be implemented in all the  relevant issues: mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. In order to bring all those aspects, as well as the Kyoto Protocol, in a general framework, the chapter of Shared Vision was introduced.

By this decision a working group on ‘Long Term Cooperative Action’ (AWG-LCA)  was installed, and mandated to find an outcome on all relevant implementation issues. More »

Science is clear: ‘If we don’t act seriously and urgently, it will be too late to reverse climate change’.
Is it economically and politically feasible to make the necessary deep commitments for mitigation? That is a political question, not a scientific one, and depends on the choices nations and humanity wish to make: More »