Factfile on UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen talks

A A A

The December 7-18 UN climate conference in Copenhagen is tasked with framing a new deal for tackling global warming and its impacts beyond 2012. Here is a factfile on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the talks.

UNFCCC

The offshoot of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the UNFCCC provides a planetary arena for tackling climate change. It came into force on March 21 1994. The treaty has been ratified by 192 countries.

Governments swap information on greenhouse-gas emissions, on national policies and on "best practices" for combatting global warming. They also cooperate in helping countries adapt to climate impacts.

KYOTO PROTOCOL

The UNFCCC's landmark achievement, the first international treaty to set down legally-binding targets for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.

It was signed as a "framework" accord in 1997; its complex rulebook was completed in 2001; it took effect on February 16 2005. It has been ratified by 183 countries plus the European Community (EC).

Kyoto set down commitments for industrialised economies that would reduce overall emissions of six categories of greenhouse gases by "at least" five percent by a 2008-2012 timeframe compared to 1990.

Rich countries can trade in emissions or invest in cleaner-energy projects in former Soviet economies or developing economies in order to gain "carbon credits" that they can then offset against their quota.

Poorer countries do not having binding emissions targets. They make a general pledge to avoid pollution.

Kyoto has been badly wounded by the absence of the United States, which signed but refused to ratify the pact, and by massive overshoots in carbon emissions by Canada and Australia.

Supporters of Kyoto like its internationally enforceable compliance mechanisms. Critics flaw the agreement because emerging giants such as China, India and Brazil, which are now major carbon polluters, have no targeted emissions cuts.

COPENHAGEN TALKS

Under a "road map" launched in 2007, the conference will focus on an agreement that will take effect after Kyoto's present commitment period expires at the end of 2012. It must take into account new scientific evidence about the growing danger from climate change.

These are the core goals:

- Forging a "shared vision" for long-term cooperative action, "including a long-term global goal for emissions reductions."

- Emissions curbs will be determined by "measurable, reportable and verifiable" actions to cut carbon output. For all developed countries, these will include "quantified emissions limitation and reduction objectives." For developing countries, no mention is made of emissions reductions. Instead, the talks will cover "nationally appropriate mitigation actions."

- Financial help to enable poor countries cope with the impact of climate change.

- Encouraging the transfer of cleaner technology through "effective mechanisms and enhanced means," including financial incentives but also the removal of obstacles, a shorthand term for trade barriers.

- Curbing emissions from deforestation, through "policy approaches and positive incentives" in developing countries as well as sustainable forest management and conservation.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: New Business Development Manager / Sales - UK New Business

£24000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Join a fast growing, UK based I...

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Time Served Fabricator / Welders - Immediate Start

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific