Ambition. Annex B targets. Second commitment period. Flexible mechanisms. State parties. Green Climate Fund. Loss and damage. Reforestation, deforestation, and afforestation. Joint implementation. Annex I. Annex II. Monitoring, review, and verification. Adaptation funding. Common but differentiated responsibilities. Clean development mechanism. Carbon emissions trading. IPCC. SBI. SBSTA. ADP. AAU. CER. ERU.
These are some of the concepts our student observer delegation is mastering as we prepare to witness the next step in international climate change law making at the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 9th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol – a.k.a. COP19/CMP9 – that will kick off in Warsaw, Poland in just 10 days.
From the Berlin Mandate to the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Road Map and Cancun Agreements to the Durban Outcomes and the Doha Gateway, all eyes turn to Warsaw to watch how countries will commit themselves to mitigating the human drivers of climate change.
A month ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its most recent report on the physical science, Climate Change 2013, stating in a press release that warming in the climate system is “unequivocal” and that it is “extremely likely” that human influence has been the dominant cause of it.
According to Qin Dahe, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, “observations of changes in the climate system are based on multiple lines of independent evidence. Our assessment of the science finds that the atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, the global mean sea level has risen and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.”
As a result, his Co-Chair Thomas Stocker adds that “heat waves are very likely to occur more frequently and last longer. As the Earth warms, we expect to see currently wet regions receiving more rainfall, and dry regions receiving less, although there will be exceptions.”
What kind of “substantial and sustained” actions should we look for at COP19/CMP9 that will help UNFCCC parties progress toward a new comprehensive climate change agreement to be signed in Paris in 2015?
Here’s what Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, highlighted in her October 21 speech in London :
- ratify the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol;
- implement the finance and technology agreements already negotiated to support developing countries;
- operationalize the Green Climate Fund;
- create mechanism for asserting loss and damage claims; and
- clarify the elements of the envisioned Paris 2015 agreement that will create an “ambitious and clear” draft for review in Peru in 2014.