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.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there