Copenhagen Accord

Copenhagen Accord

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The Copenhagen Accord is a document that delegates at the 15th session of the Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...

 agreed to "take note of" at the final plenary on 18 December 2009.

The Accord, drafted by, on the one hand, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and on the other, in a united position as the BASIC countries
BASIC countries
The BASIC countries are a bloc of four large developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – formed by an agreement on 28 November 2009...

 (China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, and Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

), is not legally binding and does not commit countries to agree to a binding successor to the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

, whose present round ends in 2012.

Summary


The Accord
  • Endorses the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol
    Kyoto Protocol
    The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

    .
  • Underlines that climate change
    Climate change
    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

     is one of the greatest challenges of our time and emphasises a "strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities"
  • To prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system
    Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
    The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

    , recognizes "the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius", in a context of sustainable development
    Sustainable development
    Sustainable development is a pattern of resource use, that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come...

    , to combat climate change.
  • Recognizes "the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects" and stresses "the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support"
  • Recognizes that "deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science" (IPCC AR4) and agrees cooperation in peaking (stopping from rising) global and national greenhouse gas emissions "as soon as possible" and that "a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development"
  • States that "enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to... reduc[e] vulnerability and build.. resilience in developing countries, especially in those that are particularly vulnerable, especially least developed countries (LDCs), small island developing states
    Small Island Developing States
    Small Island Developing States are low-lying coastal countries that tend to share similar sustainable development challenges, including small but growing populations, limited resources, remoteness, susceptibility to natural disasters, vulnerability to external shocks, excessive dependence on...

     (SIDS) and Africa" and agrees that "developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries"
  • About mitigation agrees that developed countries (Annex I Parties) would "commit to economy-wide emissions targets for 2020" to be submitted by 31 January 2010 and agrees that these Parties to the Kyoto Protocol would strengthen their existing targets. Delivery of reductions and finance by developed countries will be measured, reported and verified (MRV) in accordance with COP guidelines.
  • Agrees that developing nations (non-Annex I Parties) would "implement mitigation actions" (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action
    Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action
    Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action refers to a set of policies and actions that countries undertake as part of a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The term recognizes that different countries may take different nationally appropriate action on the basis of equity and in...

    s) to slow growth in their carbon emissions, submitting these by 31 January 2010. LDS and SIDS may undertake actions voluntarily and on the basis of (international) support.
  • Agrees that developing countries would report those actions once every two years via the U.N. climate change secretariat, subjected to their domestic MRV. s seeking international support will be subject to international MRV
  • Recognizes "the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation
    Deforestation
    Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

     and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas
    Greenhouse gas
    A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

     emission by forests", and the need to establish a mechanism (including REDD-plus) to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries to help achieve this
  • Decides pursue opportunities to use markets to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions.
  • Developing countries, specially these with low-emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low-emission pathway
  • States that "scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries... to enable and support enhanced action"
  • Agrees that developed countries would raise funds of $30 billion from 2010-2012 of new and additional resources
  • Agrees a "goal" for the world to raise $100 billion per year by 2020, from "a wide variety of sources", to help developing countries cut carbon emissions (mitigation). New multilateral funding for adaptation will be delivered, with a governance
    Governance
    Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

     structure.
  • Establishes a Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, as an operating entity of the financial mechanism, "to support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation". To this end, creates a High Level Panel
  • Establishes a Technology Mechanism "to accelerate technology development and transfer...guided by a country-driven approach"
  • Calls for "an assessment of the implementation of this Accord to be completed by 2015... This would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal", for example to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees


Emissions pledges


To date, countries representing over 80% of global emissions have engaged with the Copenhagen Accord. 31 January 2010 was an initial deadline set under the Accord for countries to submit emissions reductions targets, however UNFCCC Secretary Yvo De Boer later clarified that this was a "soft deadline." Countries continue to submit pledges past this deadline. A selection of reduction targets is shown below. All are for the year 2020.

Compared to 1990:
  • EU: 20% - 30%
  • Japan: 25%
  • Russia: 15% - 25%
  • Ukraine: 20%


Compared to 2000:
  • Australia: 5% - 25%


Compared to 2005:
  • Canada: 17%
  • US: 17%


Compared to business as usual:
  • Brazil: 36.1% - 38.9%
  • Indonesia: 26%
  • Mexico: 30%
  • South Africa: 34%
  • South Korea: 30%


Carbon intensity compared to 2005:
  • China: 40% - 45%
  • India: 20% - 25%


China also promised to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15% by 2020, and increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from the 2005 levels.

Responses

  • The G77
    Group of 77
    The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization has...

     said that the Accord will only secure the economic security of a few nations. was happy overall but "wanted more". was "pleased" although related that the accord "did not constitute a mandate for future commitment". said that the agreement would need to be built on in the future and that "We've come a long way but we have much further to go." said "We have made a start" but that the agreement needed to become legally binding quickly. Gordon Brown also accused a small number of nations of holding the Copenhagen talks to ransom.'s delegation said that "The meeting has had a positive result, everyone should be happy." Wen Jiabao
    Wen Jiabao
    Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier and Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy...

    , China's prime minister said that the weak agreement was because of distrust between nations: "To meet the climate change challenge, the international community must strengthen confidence, build consensus, make vigorous efforts and enhance co-operation."'s climate change ambassador called the agreement "disappointing".
  • Representatives of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (mainly  Venezuela,  Bolivia, and  Cuba),  Sudan, and  Tuvalu were unhappy with the outcome.n president, Evo Morales
    Evo Morales
    Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

     said that, "The meeting has failed. It's unfortunate for the planet. The fault is with the lack of political will by a small group of countries led by the US."

Analysis


US Embassy dispatches released by whistleblowing site WikiLeaks
Wikileaks
WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

 showed how the US 'used spying, threats and promises of aid' to gain support for the Copenhagen Accord. The emergent US emissions pledge was the lowest by any leading nation.

The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 immediately reported that the status and legal implications of the Copenhagen Accord were unclear. Tony Tujan of the IBON Foundation suggests the failure of Copenhagen may prove useful, if it allows us to unravel some of the underlying misconceptions and work towards a new, more holistic view of things. This could help gain the support of developing countries. Lumumba Stansilaus Di-Aping, UN Ambassador from Sudan, has indicated that, in its current form, the Accord "is not sufficient to move forward on", and that a new architecture is needed which is just and equitable.

Effect on emissions


In February 2010, a panel discussion was held at MIT, where Henry Jacoby presented the results of an analysis of the pledges made in the Accord.
According to his analysis, assuming that the pledges submitted in response to the Accord (as of February 2010) are fulfilled, global emissions would peak around 2020. The resultant stock of emissions was projected to exceed the level required to have a roughly 50% chance of meeting the 2 °C target that is specified in the Accord. Jacoby measured the 2 °C target against pre-industrial temperature levels. According to Jacoby, even emission reductions below that needed to reach the 2 °C target still had the benefit of reducing the risk of large magnitudes of future climate change.

In March 2010, Nicholas Stern
Nicholas Stern
Nicholas Herbert Stern, Baron Stern of Brentford, Kt, FBA is a British economist and academic. He is IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics , and 2010 Professor of Collège de...

 gave a talk at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

 on the outcome of Copenhagen conference.
Stern said that he was disappointed with the outcome of the conference, but saw the Accord as a possible improvement on "business-as-usual" greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 (GHG) emissions. In his assessment, to have a reasonable chance of meeting the 2 °C target, the preferred emissions level in 2020 would be around 44 gigatons. The voluntary pledges made in the Accord (at that date) would, according to his projection, be above this, nearer to 50 gigatons. In this projection, Stern assumed that countries would fulfil the commitments they had made. Stern compared this projection to a "business-as-usual" emissions path (i.e., the emissions that might have occurred without the Accord). His estimate of "business-as-usual" suggested that without the Accord, emissions might have been above 50 gigatons in 2020.

A study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters found that the Accord's voluntary commitments would probably result in a dangerous increase in the global average temperature of 4.2º C over the next century.

The International Energy Agency
International Energy Agency
The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis...

 (IEA) publication, World Energy Outlook
World Energy Outlook
The annual World Energy Outlook is the International Energy Agency's flagship publication and it is widely recognised as the most authoritative energy source for global energy projections and analysis. It represents the leading source for medium to long-term energy market projections, extensive...

 2010,
contains a scenario
Climate change scenario
This article is about climate change scenarios. Socioeconomic scenarios are used by analysts to make projections of future greenhouse gas emissions and to assess future vulnerability to climate change...

 that is based on the voluntary pledges made in the Copenhagen Accord.
In the IEA scenario, it is assumed that these pledges are acted on cautiously, reflecting their non-binding nature. In the scenario, GHG emission trends follow a path that is consistent with a stabilization of GHGs at 650 parts per million (ppm) CO2-equivalent in the atmosphere. In the long-term, a 650 ppm concentration could lead to global warming of 3.5 °C above the pre-industrial global average temperature level.

World Energy Outlook 2010 suggests another scenario consistent with having a reasonable chance of limiting global warming to 2 °C above the pre-industrial level. In the IEA's scenario, GHG emissions are reduced so as to stabilize the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere at 450 ppm CO2-eq. This scenario sees countries making vigorous efforts to cut their GHG emissions up to the year 2020, with even stronger action taken thereafter.

A preliminary assessment published in November 2010 by the United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its...

 (UNEP) suggests a possible "emissions gap" between the voluntary pledges made in the Accord and the emissions cuts necessary to have a "likely" (greater than 66% probability) chance of meeting the 2 °C objective.
The UNEP assessment takes the 2 °C objective as being measured against the pre-industrial global mean temperature level. To having a likely chance of meeting the 2 °C objective, assessed studies generally indicated the need for global emissions to peak before 2020, with substantial declines in emissions thereafter.

Criticism


Concerns over the accord exist; some of the key criticisms include:
  • The accord itself is not legally binding
  • No decision was taken on whether to agree a legally binding successor or complement to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The accord sets no real targets to achieve in emissions reductions.
  • The accord was drafted by only five countries.
  • The deadline for assessment of the accord was drafted as 6 years, by 2015.
  • The mobilisation of 100 billion dollars per year to developing countries will not be fully in place until 2020.
  • There is no guarantee or information on where the climate funds will come from.
  • There is no agreement on how much individual countries would contribute to or benefit from any funds.
  • COP delegates only "took note" of the Accord rather than adopting it.
  • The head of the G77
    Group of 77
    The Group of 77 at the United Nations is a loose coalition of developing nations, designed to promote its members' collective economic interests and create an enhanced joint negotiating capacity in the United Nations. There were 77 founding members of the organization, but the organization has...

     has said it will only secure the economic security of a few nations.
  • There is not an international approach to technology.
  • Forgets fundamental sectoral mitigation, such as transportation.
  • It shows biases in silent ways such as the promotion of incentives on low gas-emitting countries.

See also

  • 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
    2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
    The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as the Copenhagen Summit, was held at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 December and 18 December. The conference included the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate...

  • 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference
    2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference
    The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November to 10 December 2010. The conference is officially referred to as the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 6th session of the...

  • 350.org
    350.org
    350.org is an international environmental organization, headed by author Bill McKibben, with the goal of building a global grassroots movement to raise awareness of anthropogenic climate change, to confront climate change denial, and to cut emissions of one of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide,...

  • Anote Tong
    Anote Tong
    Anote Tong is an I-Kiribati politician with Chinese heritage. He is the current President of Kiribati. He won the election in July 2003 with a slim plurality of votes cast against his brother, Dr. Harry Tong and the private lawyer Banuera Berina...

  • Bali Road Map
  • Post–Kyoto Protocol negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions
  • Kyoto Protocol
    Kyoto Protocol
    The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

  • Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV)
  • Global warming
    Global warming
    Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

     and climate change
    Climate change
    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...


External links