Climate change:Commission looks for progress from UN ministerial conference

Brussels/Nairobi, 6 November 2006

Climate change: Commission looks for progress from UN ministerial conference in Nairobi
The European Commission will be seeking further global progress in the battle against climate change at the annual United Nations climate change conference which starts in Nairobi today and runs until 17 November. European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas will participate in the high-level segment from 15-17 November. This is the first world climate change conference held in sub-Saharan Africa and accordingly it will have a special focus on the needs of Africa and other developing countries. The other key agenda topic will be discussion of what further action the international community should take to combat climate change after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol emission targets expire. The conference will also carry out a review of the Protocol.
?¨Climate change threatens catastrophic impacts that will transform the world we live in,” said Commissioner Dimas. “Developing countries in Africa and elsewhere are likely to be hit hardest by climate change but they are the ones least able to cope. The Nairobi conference is an important opportunity to support them. We must take concrete steps to help developing countries adapt to climate change and thus reduce its risks.?Æ
He added: ?¨Climate change is already happening and there are signs that its pace is accelerating. Kyoto is a first step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions but the international community will need to take much more ambitious action after 2012. Although it is too early to expect major breakthroughs, the Nairobi Conference must make good progress towards shaping an international consensus on the next steps. The recent Stern Review shows it makes perfect economic sense for us to act as quickly as possible. There is no reason for further delay.”
Assistance to developing countries on adaptation and technology
To help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change, the EU wants to see final agreement reached in Nairobi on a detailed five-year programme of work on adaptation activities. Agreement is also needed on the management arrangements and governance for a new Adaptation Fund so that concrete adaptation projects can be implemented as soon as possible. This fund could be worth more than ?Ñ350 million between 2008 and 2012.
The EU also wants to see initiatives taken in Nairobi to encourage a more equitable global distribution of emission saving projects carried out under the Kyoto Protocol??s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM is proving highly successful at promoting the transfer of clean technologies to developing countries, with more than 1000 projects under development at present. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme is helping to stimulate this interest, by allowing companies to use credits from CDM projects to comply with their obligations under the scheme. However, only nine of the almost 400 CDM projects so far registered under the Kyoto Protocol are in Africa ?± four in South Africa, three in Morocco and one each in Egypt and Tunisia.
Post-2012 action and review of the Kyoto Protocol
At the last world climate conference, last December in Montreal, the EU succeeded in getting a global agreement to launch discussions on future action. These began in May in Bonn and are following two parallel ‘tracks’. All Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are discussing new emission targets for industrialised countries to succeed the current targets that must be met by 2012. In parallel, all Parties to the Convention, including the US which has not ratified Kyoto, are taking part in a two-year dialogue on long-term cooperative action against climate change in the form of four workshops.
The EU wants these two sets of discussions to build consensus on a global pact for controlling climate change in the period after 2012. Nairobi will mark the second round of discussions in each track. The working group on further commitments under Kyoto will meet during most of the Conference, while the Convention dialogue workshop will take place during the high-level segment.
The conference will also carry out a review of the Kyoto Protocol. The EU wants the review to focus on making improvements to the Protocol, such as optimising the functioning of the CDM and the other market-based mechanisms and including emissions from sources that are currently not covered, particularly shipping and aviation.
Climate Change Convention and Kyoto Protocol
The Nairobi meeting comprises two conferences held simultaneously: the12th conference (COP-12) of the 189 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the 2nd Meeting (COP/MOP-2) of the 166 Parties to the Convention??s Kyoto Protocol. Each is supported by subsidiary bodies meeting at official level.
The Convention sets the objective of preventing dangerous human interference with the climate system. The Protocol, which entered into force in February 2005, commits industrialised countries to reach specific emission limitation or reduction targets during the 2008-2012 ?´commitment period.??
The conference will conclude with the high-level segment on 15-17 November. For this the EU will be led by the ‘Troika’, comprising Finnish Environment Minister Jan-Erik Enestam, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, and Commissioner Dimas.
Author: EARSC

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