United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

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Climate change/International cooperation > United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)



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The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international agreement addressing climate change. In December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol, which commits certain developed nations to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, was adopted under the UNFCCC.

  • Copenhagen, Denmark, was the location of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 30 November - 11 December 2009. This meeting resulted in an agreement called the Copenhagen Accord.
  • Cancun, Mexico, is the location of the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16), 19 November - 10 December 2010.

Events

News

  • Large differences in the climate impact of biofuels, 15 November 2011 by EurekAlert: "The use of bioenergy may affect ecosystem carbon stocks, and it can take anything from 2 to 100 years for different biofuels to achieve carbon dioxide neutrality."
    • "The use of bioenergy affects ecosystem carbon stocks over time in either a positive or negative way. Biofuels where the combustion related emissions are compensated rapidly have a lower climate impact than fuels for which it takes a long time for the emissions to be compensated."
    • "Despite this, the difference in climate impacts between slow and rapid biofuels is rarely highlighted in political contexts. Emissions from bioenergy are, for example, not included in countries' commitments under the Kyoto Protocol."
    • "If environmental legislation, for instance the EU renewables directive, requires that climate benefits of biofuels are calculated over a 20 year period, biofuels that need longer time to reach carbon neutrality may be regarded as not renewable."[1]
  • ‘Serious’ Error Found in Carbon Savings for Biofuels, 14 September 2011 by the New York Times Green Blog: "The European Union is overestimating the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved through reliance on biofuels as a result of a 'serious accounting error,' according to a draft opinion by an influential committee of 19 scientists and academics."
    • "The European Environment Agency Scientific Committee writes that the role of energy from crops like biofuels in curbing warming gases should be measured by how much additional carbon dioxide such crops absorb beyond what would have been absorbed anyway by existing fields, forests and grasslands."
    • "Instead, the European Union has been 'double counting' some of the savings, according to the draft opinion, which was prepared by the committee in May and viewed this week by The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times."
    • "The committee said that the error had crept into European Union regulations because of a 'misapplication of the original guidance' under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."
    • "'The potential consequences of this bioenergy accounting error are immense since it assumes that all burning of biomass does not add carbon to the air,' the committee wrote."[2]
  • Deforestation 'not so important for climate change' , 8 December 2010 by New Scientist: "Climate negotiations were dealt a bombshell at the weekend when ecologists reported that carbon emissions from the destruction of tropical forests are probably only half previous estimates."
    • "[T]he findings seriously question the only success so far of the UN negotiations on curbing climate change under way in Cancún, Mexico. If cutting down trees emits far less CO2 than we thought, where's the incentive to stop chopping?"
    • "Four years ago, the UN's Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change estimated that deforestation was responsible for up to 20 per cent of CO2 emissions. A more recent study...revised that down to 15 per cent for the period 2000 to 2005."
    • "But now ecologists at Winrock International, a respected US consultancy based in Arlington, Virginia, whose work was funded by the World Bank and the Norwegian government, says a more detailed analysis puts the figure for 2000 to 2005 at around 8 per cent, with a possible range between 5 and 12 per cent."
    • "The analysis, which has yet to be formally published, used...a laser-radar satellite measurement technique known as lidar and 4000 carbon inventories from forest plots on the ground."[3]
  • Bioenergy’s Carbon Neutrality Dismissed by Coalition of NGOs, 20 October 2010 by the Energy Collective: "A coalition of environmental organizations has warned that bioenergy is far from being carbon neutral and that related carbon accounting systems currently in place are deceptive."
    • "According to Ecosystems Climate Alliance, an alliance of NGOs committed to 'keeping natural terrestrial ecosystems intact and their carbon out of the atmosphere', zero-emission bioenergy is a myth. It blames the loopholes in LULUCF’s (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry) accounting rules for the misconception."
    • "ECA says" that nations "with renewable energy targets allow biomass burners to stay out of emissions accounting, backed by the 'deceptive assumption that prior sequestration is sufficient to neutralize the problem', and give them generous financial incentives for generating 'green energy'. This way they act as serious competition for real renewables like wind and solar, which have much higher unit cost of production."
    • "The fact that emissions from logging and burning of biomass are left out of Kyoto Protocol accounting systems, ECA says, creates an 'attractive but misleading way for industrialized countries to appear to be achieving their national emissions reduction targets under the Protocol through substituting bioenergy for fossil fuels. In reality, such substitution results in higher emissions than those from fossil fuel for the same amount of useable energy.'"[4]
  • UN incineration plans rejected by world's rubbish-dump workers, 5 August 2010 by The Guardian: "The waste-pickers who scour the world's rubbish dumps and daily recycle thousands of tonnes of metal, paper and plastics are up in arms against the UN, which they claim is forcing them out of work and increasing climate change emissions."
    • "Their complaint, heard yesterday in Bonn where UN global climate change talks have resumed, is that the clean development mechanism (CDM), an ambitious climate finance scheme designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, has led to dozens of giant waste-to-energy incinerators being built to burn municipal rubbish, as well as hundreds of new landfill schemes designed to collect methane gas."
    • "'Waste-pickers, who are some of the poorest people on earth, recover recyclable materials. They are invisible entrepreneurs on the frontline of climate change, earning a living from recovery and recycling, reducing demand for natural resources,' says Neil Tangri, director of Gaia, an alliance of 500 anti-incinerator groups in 80 countries."
    • "But they are being undermined by CDM projects, which deny them entry to dumps. This is leading to further stress and hardship for some of the poorest people in the world and is increasing emissions,' he said."
    • "Yesterday Gaia called for the CDM to stop approving incinerator waste to energy projects and to start investing climate funds in the informal recycling sector. This, he said, would increase employment and labour conditions while dramatically reducing emissions."[5]
  • Rainforests Lose Out in Senate's New Climate Bill, 18 May 2010 by Time: "The climate bill passed by the [U.S.] House of Representatives last June set an ambitious goal of conserving the carbon trapped in forests equal to 10% of U.S. emissions, and in doing so, set aside 5% of total emissions allowance value from carbon auctions, which could bring $3 to $5 billion a year, to the protection of forests in developing nations."
    • "Although the Senate bill does give the President the authority to designate up to 5% of carbon revenue to deforestation or other international aims within the context of a global deal, which is meaningful, it's not as effective as specifically dedicating money to stop deforestation. Further, limiting REDD in a U.S. climate bill could make getting a global deal — already a near impossible challenge — even tougher. REDD was one of the few areas that showed glimmers of promise at the chaotic U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last December....But as the Senate bill stands now, REDD could end up dead."[6]


Climate change edit

Carbon/Carbon dioxide (CO2)/Carbon balance: Carbon emissions/Net (carbon) emissions | Carbon footprint | Carbon negative biofuels | Carbon neutrality
Carbon offsets | Carbon sequestration/Carbon storage | Life-cycle analysis (Models) | Low carbon | Low Carbon Fuel Standard
Land - Desertification | Erosion | Deforestation (REDD)
Policy: UNFCCC: Kyoto Protocol (Clean Development Mechanism), Copenhagen COP15 (Copenhagen Accord) | American Clean Energy and Security Act

International cooperation edit

International cooperation: International financing | South-South cooperation | Technology transfer
International organizations
International policy: Multilateral agreements: International Biofuels Forum | Core Agriculture Support Program |
Kyoto Protocol: Clean Development Mechanism
Bilateral agreements: Brazil-Indonesia Consultative Committee on Biofuels | US-Brazil ethanol partnership
United Nations: June 2008 UN food conference


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