Climate change discussions and negotiations: a calendar

17 July 2009

Nina Markovic and Nick Fuller
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Section

Contents

Introduction
Calendar of climate change discussions and negotiations
Summary of key components in the table
United Nations
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Kyoto Protocol
Post-Kyoto agreement
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The European Union
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
G8+G5 and Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate
The World Bank
 

Introduction

The Rudd Government has emphasised that a major part of Australia’s efforts to control global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be Australia’s participation in international negotiations leading to a global agreement on this issue.[1]

Australia participates in a number of bilateral and multilateral climate change partnerships.[2] It is party to both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and has ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC on 12 December 2007.[3] The Kyoto Protocol contains legally binding GHG emissions targets for developed countries that have ratified the Protocol.[4] The Australian Government has proposed an emissions trading scheme (ETS), which is currently being debated in Parliament.[5]

The Australian Government is also participating in international meetings intended to shape a future global response to tackling climate change. Formal negotiations are taking place within various meetings and working groups that have been established under the UNFCCC framework. This background note will be a ‘living’ document, updated to include new developments.

Calendar of climate change discussions and negotiations

The following table shows significant events leading up to the proposed start of an Australian ETS and scheduled international meetings ahead of the Copenhagen conference on climate change.[6] A brief summary of some of the key components referred to in the calendar will follow.

Date

Australia

UNFCCC

Other international

2007

     

December

Final report of National Emissions Trading Task Force released on possible design of a national GHG emissions trading scheme.

   

December

Australia ratifies Kyoto Protocol on 12 December.

COP 13/CMP 3, Bali (Indonesia),
3–15 December.

 

2008

     

1 January

   

The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)—second trading period started.

4 February

Garnaut Climate Change Review Interim Report to the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments in Australia released.

   

March

11 March–Kyoto Protocol comes into effect for Australia. Garnaut Climate Change Review Emissions Trading Discussion Paper released on 20 March.

   

July

Report of the Strategic Review of Climate Change Policies (‘Wilkins Review’) delivered to the Australian Government, 31 July.

 

World Bank approves the creation of two Climate Investment Funds worth US$5bn, the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund.

4 July

Garnaut Climate Change Review Draft Report released.

   

7–9 July

   

G8 Summit in Japan

10 July

   

Major Economies Meeting (MEM) on Energy Security and Climate Change, Japan.

16 July

Australian Government Green Paper on Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme released.

   

21–27 August

 

UNFCCC Climate Change Talks, Accra, Ghana.

 

31 August–4 September

   

29th meeting of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Geneva

1–27 September

 

UNFCCC Centralised GHG Reviews–Bonn, Germany.

 

30 September

Garnaut Climate Change Review, Final Report delivered to the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

   

30 October

Treasury modelling on the economic impact of emissions targets and scheme caps released.

   

22–23 October

 

Pre-sessional workshop on preparations for the Second Review of the Kyoto Protocol.

 

16–25 November

   

APEC meetings, Peru.

December

Release of Australian Government White Paper on Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

   

1–12 December

 

COP 14 / CMP 4Poznań, Poland.

 

2009

     

16–20 February

   

25th session on United Nations Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environmental Forum, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.

March

Exposure draft Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) legislation released.

   

21–23 April

   

30th meeting of the IPCC, Turkey

14 May

CPRS Bill and associated legislation introduced into Parliament.

   

24–26 May

   

World Business Summit on Climate Change, Copenhagen, Denmark.

June

CPRS Bill and associated legislation passes House of Representatives on 4 June.  CPRS Bill and associated legislation introduced to the Senate on 15 June.

Bonn climate change talks, Germany
1–12 June, negotiating text of eventual agreement made public.

 

8–10 July

   

G8 Summit in Italy

10 to 14 August

 

Informal UNFCCC inter-sessional climate change talks in Bonn, Germany. Two more formal meetings of the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP are expected to be held before COP15.

 

12–16 October

   

UN World Meteorological Organisation–3rd World Climate Conference, Geneva, Switzerland.

November/ December

 

COP 15 / CMP 6–Climate change treaty negotiations, Copenhagen, Denmark,
7–8 December.

APEC meetings in Singapore, 8–15 November.

2011

1 July—CPRS due to commence operation .

   

2012

1 July—start of market pricing for emissions permits under CPRS.

   

December

   

Second trading period ends for the EU ETS.

2013

Assessment of inclusion of agriculture in ETS.

Australian Government due to announce final decision on inclusion of agriculture.

 

Start of the third trading period for the EU ETS.

2015

Potential inclusion of agriculture in ETS if decided in 2013.

   

2016

First scheduled public strategic review of ETS by independent expert committee.

   

Summary of key components in the table

The following presents a brief overview of key meetings and dialogues referred to in the climate change calendar above. Further information and links can be found on the Parliamentary Library’s climate change website.[7]

United Nations

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the key inter-governmental treaty on climate change. It sets an overall framework for international efforts to reduce the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere. It was adopted in May 1992, and came into force on 21 March 1994.[8]

All parties to the Convention meet each year to report on their progress in meeting commitments made under the Convention. This meeting is called the ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP).[9] The thirteenth Conference of the Parties (COP13) in 2007 set out the Bali Road Map, which lists a number of initiatives such as an agreement by all parties to map out a post-2012 global climate change agreement within two years.[10] It also calls for a larger role for developing nations—in particular China and India—to make greater contributions on GHG emission reductions. At the fourteenth Conference of the Parties (COP14) meeting in 2008, the Bali Road Map was advanced.[11]

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC was adopted in the Japanese city of Kyoto on 11 December 1997, entering into force on 16 February 2005.[12] It sets legally binding GHG emissions targets for developed countries. Developing countries can be signatories to the Protocol, but legally binding targets do not apply to them.[13]

Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, but ratification was not pursued until December 2007. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd signed the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on 3 December 2007 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.[14] Australia deposited its instrument of ratification on 12 December 2007. The Kyoto Protocol came into force for Australia on 11 March 2008.[15]

Post-Kyoto agreement

UNFCCC-led international negotiations on the post-2012 framework are currently underway. COP14/CMP4 took place in December 2008 in the Polish city of Poznań. COP15/CMP5 will take place in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, in December 2009. This is expected to be a landmark international meeting that will attempt to reach agreement on ‘a long-term post-2012 set of arrangements for the international community on climate change including carbon targets’.[16]

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Established in 1988, the IPCC has been to be one of the major sources of information for the UNFCCC-led negotiations on the global climate change policy.[17]  The IPCC regularly evaluates published scientific, technical and socio-economic material relevant to the understanding of climate change. It also produces authoritative reports, which in the early 1990s contributed to the creation of the UNFCCC.

The European Union

The European Union (EU) is a regional and supranational organisation with 27 member states. In 2005, the EU launched the European Union GHG Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in an effort to control emissions of GHG emissions and combat the threat of climate change with its consequences for European and global security.[18] The EU ETS is the world’s largest market in GHG emissions trading, covering over 14 000 installations across the EU.

The scheme commenced in January 2005. The first phase of the EU ETS ran from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2007, with a second phase running from 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012. The second phase coincided with the first Kyoto commitment period. The EU has announced that a third phase will follow in 2013.

In January 2009, the European Commission set out proposals for a global deal on climate change ahead of the Copenhagen conference.[19]

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

Created in 1989, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) dialogue comprises: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; China; Chinese Taipei; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; South Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Thailand; the United States of America, and Vietnam.

Climate change became a key focus for APEC at the APEC meeting in Sydney in September 2007.[20] APEC has instituted programs relating to energy investment and trade, energy efficiency, energy technology, transport emissions and alternative fuels.[21] On 9 September 2007 in Sydney, APEC adopted the Declaration on Climate Change, Energy Security and Clean Development.[22] The Declaration called for a post-Kyoto international climate change agreement to reduce GHGs.[23] The next APEC meeting is scheduled for November 2009 in Singapore, and climate change is likely to be one of the key subjects for discussion.

G8, G5 and Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate

The Group of Eight (G8) is a meeting of major industrialised states which seeks to play an important role in the shaping of the post-Kyoto climate change agreement by creating a political momentum for discussions. The G8 comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States.

G8 Finance Ministers, who met in Osaka (Japan) in June 2008 agreed to the ‘G8 Action Plan for Climate Change to Enhance the Engagement of Private and Public Financial Institutions’.[24] On this occasion, the Ministers called for public-private partnerships in addressing climate change.[25]

On 8 July 2008, the Group of Eight issued a communiqué, which amongst other things covered the reduction of global GHG emissions.[26] The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon welcomed the statement of the G8 Summit on climate change and environment, but called for further international action:

By next year in Copenhagen we need to collectively agree to ambitious mid-term emission reduction targets for developed countries, coupled with meaningful efforts by developing countries to reduce the growth of their emissions.[27]

In July 2009, the G8 summit took place in the Italian city of L’Aquila. Leaders from G8 countries endorsed the scientific view that the global temperature rise should be kept below 2˚C above pre-industrial levels. They also agreed to a long-term goal of reducing global GHG emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2050, with developed nations to reduce their GHG emissions by at least 80 per cent.[28]

The leaders of the Group of Five (G5) (Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa) issued a Political Declaration, in which they called for, amongst other things, the establishment of ‘an international mechanism for the development, deployment and transfer of environmentally friendly technologies’ to developing countries.[29]  

In a separate session attended by the Leaders of Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (of which Australia is a member), along with the UN Secretary General, the European Commission, Sweden and Denmark, an agreement was reached on key pillars of the so-called ‘Copenhagen climate deal’.[30] The Leaders’ Declaration on Energy and Climate provides more information about their joint position on climate change.[31]

The World Bank

On 1 July 2008 the board of directors of the World Bank approved the creation of two Climate Investment trust Funds: the Clean Technology Fund, and the Strategic Climate Fund.[32] It is hoped that the total commitment of these funds over the next three years will reach five billion US dollars.[33] The aim of the funds is to help developing countries reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.[34] The first Partnership Forum for the Climate Investment Funds took place in September 2008.[35] The World Bank remains an important instrument of financing projects aimed at adaptation and mitigation.

 


[1].       P Wong (Minister for Climate Change), Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme: Green Paper, July 2008, p. v, viewed 17 July 2009,     http://www.climatechange.gov.au/greenpaper/report/index.html

[2].       Department of Climate Change, International Activities, Department of Climate Change website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.climatechange.gov.au/international/index.html

[3].       Department of Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Department of Climate Change website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.climatechange.gov.au/international/kyoto/index.html; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, ‘The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’, UNFCCC website, viewed 17 July 2009,    http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/items/2627.php

[4].       For further reading on the greenhouse effect and climate change, see Australia, Parliamentary Library, ‘The greenhouse effect’, Climate change, viewed 1 July 2009, http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/ClimateChange/theBasic/theGreenhouse.htm; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate change: the physical science basis, Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, p. 10.

[5].       Department of Climate Change, Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Legislative Package, 24 June 2009, viewed 17 July 2009,     http://www.climatechange.gov.au/emissionstrading/legislation/index.html; L Nielson, J Styles, A Talberg and J Tomaras, Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009, Bills digest no. 165 2008–09, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 15 June 2009, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/bd/2008-09/09bd165.htm 

[6].       Legislation to enact the ETS is before the Parliament. The dates in the table are subject to change.

[7].       Australia, Parliamentary Library, Climate change, viewed 15 July 2009, http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/ClimateChange/index.htm 

[8].       For further reading see UNFCCC, ‘Status of ratification’, UNFCCC website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/status_of_ratification/items/2631.php

[9].       UNFCCC, ‘The United Nations Climate Change conference in Bali’, UNFCCC website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://unfccc.int/meetings/cop_13/items/4049.php; Other meetings are listed at UNFCCC, Meetings, viewed 17 July 2009, http://unfccc.int/meetings/items/2654.php   

[10].     R Witoelar, The Bali Roadmap. Address to closing plenary by His Excellency Mr Rachmat Witoelar, President, UN Climate Change Conference, Bali, 15 December 2007, viewed 17 July 2009, http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_13/application/pdf/close_stat_cop13_president.pdf

[11].     UNFCCC, Report of the Conference of the Parties on its fourteenth session, held in Poznan from 1 to 12 December 2008. Addendum. Part two: action taken by the Conference of the Parties at its fourteenth session, UNFCCC website, 18 March 2009, viewed 17 July 2009, http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2008/cop14/eng/07a01.pdf#page=2

[12].     UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, UNFCCC website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/items/2830.php

[13].     Only Parties to the UNFCCC can be parties to the Kyoto Protocol. UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol.

[14].     ‘Australia signs the Kyoto Protocol’, Daily telegraph, 3 December 2007; UNFCCC, The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali.

[15].     Department of Climate Change, Implementing the Kyoto Protocol in Australia: fact sheet, Department of Climate Change website, viewed 17 July 2009,  http://www.climatechange.gov.au/international/publications/fs-kyoto.html

[16].     K Rudd (Prime Minister of Australia), Press Conference: United Nations, New York, 30 March 2008, viewed 1 July 2009, http://www.pm.gov.au/media/Interview/2008/interview_0154.cfm; Danish Government, ‘COP15 Copenhagen 2009’, viewed 1 July 2009, http://www.cop15.dk/en/

[17].     Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ‘About IPCC’, IPCC website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.ipcc.ch/about/index.htm

[18].     European Commission, ‘EU ETS’, European Commission website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/climat/emission/index_en.htm. See also the European Council, Climate change and international security, European Council website, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/reports/99387.pdf

[19].     ‘Climate change: EU Commission sets out proposals for global pact on climate change at Copenhagen’, EU @ UN website, 28 January 2009, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.europa-eu-un.org/articles/en/article_8447_en.htm; See also ‘Climate change: EU Council contribution to post-2012 climate change agreement in Copenhagen’,  EU @ UN website, 16 March 2009, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.europa-eu-un.org/articles/en/article_8569_en.htm

[20].     Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), ‘Feature article: APEC and climate change’, ABS website, September 2007, viewed 1 July 2009, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/1301.0Feature%20Article5012008?
opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=1301.0&issue=2008&num=&view

[21].     Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Fact sheet––APEC and Climate Change,  APEC website, viewed 17 July 2009,     http://www.apec.org/apec/news___media/fact_sheets/210807_sg_climatechange.html

[22].     APEC, Sydney APEC leaders’ declaration on climate change, energy security and clean development, APEC website, 9 September 2007, viewed 17 July 2009,    http://testsps1/dps/library/ccwiki/Greenhouse%20gas%20emissions%202005/07_aelm_ClimateChangeEnergySec.pdf

[23].     The component of the 2008 APEC Leaders’ Declaration, which is related to climate change, is available at APEC website,  Climate change, energy security and clean development, viewed 17 July 2009,  http://www.apec.org/apec/leaders__declarations/2008.html#IX

[24].     Ministry of Finance (Japan), G8 action plan for climate change to enhance the engagement of private and public financial institutions, 14 June 2008, viewed 17 July 2009,  http://www.mof.go.jp/english/if/su080614b.pdf

[25].     The G8 Summit in 2009 launched the Global Partnership on innovation with a view to doubling public investments in research and development by 2015.

[26].     G8 Information Centre, Environment and Climate Change. Hokkaido Toyako Summit, July 8, 2008, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.g8.utoronto.ca/summit/2008hokkaido/2008-climate.html.

[27].     B Ki-moon (UN Secretary General), ‘The Secretary-General’s statement on the Group of Eight summit’, Hokkaido, Japan, 9 July 2008, viewed 17 July 2009,     http://www.un.org/apps/sg/sgstats.asp?nid=3283#

[28].     G8 Summit 2009, Chair’s summary, 10 July 2009, G8 Summit website, viewed 12 July, http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/Chair_Summary,1.pdf. There was, however, no reference to a baseline date, which makes any target somewhat ambiguous.

[29].     ‘G5 Declaration’, L’Aquila, Italy, 8 July 2009, viewed 12 July 2009,   http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/summit/2009laquila/2009-g5declaration.pdf

[30].     G8 summit 2009, Chair’s summary.

[31].     G8 Summit 2009, Declaration of the Leaders The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, 10 July 2009, G8 Summit website, viewed 17 July 2009,     http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/MEF_Declarationl.pdf

[32].     World Bank, World Bank Board Approves Climate Investment Funds, 1 July 2008, http://go.worldbank.org/NP9AR028S0, accessed on 25 August 2008.  World Bank, Climate Investment Funds (CIF), viewed 17 July 2009, http://go.worldbank.org/58OVAGT860; World Bank, The Clean Technology Fund, 9 June 2008, viewed 17 July 2009,  http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCC/Resources/Clean_Technology_Fund_paper_June_9_final.pdf;  World Bank, Strategic Climate Fund, 3 June 2008, viewed 17 July 2009,  http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCC/Resources/Strategic_Climate_Fund_final.pdf#Strategic_Climate_Fund

[33].     World Bank, World Bank board approves climate investment funds.

[34].     ‘World Bank approves $5 billion climate funds’, Environmental finance, 4 July 2008, viewed 17 July 2009, http://www.environmental-finance.com/onlinews/0703wor.html

[35].     World Bank, World Bank board approves climate investment funds.

 

For copyright reasons some linked items are only available to members of Parliament.


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