Understanding the Complex Organized Chaos of UNFCCC Negotiations

Fractal

A fractal is a never-ending mathematical pattern that is self-similar across different scales. Every time you look closer, you see another layer.   The UNFCCC negotiations have a similar pattern. Every time you look closer, you see another layer. The news reports coming out of Paris are using a confusing array of terms: ADP contact…
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COP21 Begins in 24 Hours: Will a Paris Agreement [Decrease] [Solve] [Do Nothing On] Climate Change?

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If all politics are local, but greenhouse gases find their way into the atmosphere’s international space, how can the global community act collectively on climate change? In 1992, the solution was to adopt an international treaty. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) declared climate change a “common concern of mankind,” and committed…
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Undermining the Prospects for a Ambitious U.N. Climate Deal

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At the close of the first week of the United Nation’s (UN) climate negotiations, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) reached $9.95 billion with Norway’s most recent pledge.  At the same time, the Oil Change International and Overseas Development Institute (OCI) released a new report. The report calls for a short stopped applaud on the GCF…
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ADP Workstream 2: The most pressing and immediate of needs shuffled to end of queue

Exhibit in Lima, Peru

Under the ADP, two ‘workstreams’ were created to meet climate change goals. Workstream 1 was created to identify Individual Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) that will be signed at the Paris 2015 COP; Workstream 2 was created to fill the ‘gap’ between present and the 2020 date of implementation of the Paris 2015 agreement. Since the…
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The Fossils of the Day

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Today Australia and the European Union (EU) took home the Fossil of the Day Award presented by Climate Action Network (CAN). Australia received the gold medal after stating in an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) session that loss and damage should be an element of adaptation, not a stand alone part of the…
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The road from Bonn to Lima (by way of Copenhagen this week)

adp in bonn

Looking back on last week’s ADP2-6 special session, it would be easy to echo the notes of pessimism that pervaded Saturday’s press reports.  RTCC (Responding to Climate Change) commented after last Thursday’s stocktaking session that “much work remains” in the session’s last two days and noted the frustrated ADP Co-Chairs “offering government negotiators a stern reality check.”…
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Legal enough?

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In the run up to next week’s special meeting of the ADP, the United States is publicly setting out its negotiation agenda. In a speech on Monday at Yale University, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern indicated the country’s position on the meaning of “legal” in the ADP’s mandate to produce “a protocol, another legal instrument…
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“A foundation COP” of nuts and bolts

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“Stocktaking” is a now a new word in my vocabulary.  While I regularly do it, I don’t normally make the time to name it as such.  In the polyglot system of the United Nations, awkwardly-formal-but-descriptive terms like this one (and “functions and modalities,” “institutional mechanisms,”  “work programmes”) are essential to the process of moving a…
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COP 19 still going… we’re still in extra time: penalty-shoot out or a nil-nil draw?

The UNFCCC COP 19 is still going and going, much like the Energizer bunny or a cricket match. At this point in the game, the negotiations have produced two draft text on ADP (Agenda item 3) and long-term finance (LTF), but an updated draft on loss and damage remains in the locker room with some…
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COP 19 is the never-ending story… ADP, Loss and Damage and Finance still unresolved

The clock has passed 1:30 am and the COP is still going… Negotiators and the High Level Ministers are still hard at work tweaking draft texts for the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), Finance, and Loss and Damage, respectively.The UNFCCC COP19/CMP was supposed to end on November 22nd, ideally with much pomp and circumstance,…
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Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

“The only people with the power to actually change anything are the local elected officials.” – the Environmental Minister of Ghent, Belgium No matter what happens in the international climate change negotiations, there is one thing everyone can agree on: the impacts of climate change, and the actions taken to address it, will ultimately happen…
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More on the High Level Panel Event on the Land Use Sector and Forests

This post adds a bit more detail to Chris Knowles’ earlier post. The President of the Conference of Parties convened a “High-level panel event on the land use sector and forests” on Monday 18 November at COP19 . The President himself was in attendance, but his representative opened the meeting emphasizing the importance of the…
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What’s Next For the Land-Use Sector?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, let me fill you in on a little secret: I am a land-use geek. I am obsessed with anything to do with the intersection of forests, croplands, grasslands, and/or wetlands with climate change adaptation and mitigation. So when rumors began to fly earlier this year that Parties…
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