The international Climate Change Negotiations

The Danish Energy Agency participates in the international climate change negotiations

In the EU context, member states agree on a number of common objectives for the climate. These objectives form the basis of the EU’s common position when participating in the UN climate negotiations. Hence, the Danish Energy Agency negotiates on behalf of Denmark in the EU, whereas the EU negotiates in the UN on behalf of all the member states. The Danish Energy Agency also participates in the meetings in the UN. The Danish Energy Agency participates in order to take part in deciding the position of the EU and to cover the general negotiations on behalf of the Danish government and the Parliament.


Climate negotiations in the UN

The UN administrates the global climate negotiations. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) serves as a framework convention for the negotiations that seeks to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases. 

The Kyoto Protocol – the first legally binding international agreement

Since the UNFCCC contains no mandatory requirements of the Parties to the Convention to reduce their emissions, 192 Parties agreed in 1997 to extend the Convention with the Kyoto Protocol. In a global perspective, the Kyoto Protocol is historic because it was the first legally binding international agreement with specific commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The COP-meetings

The Parties to the UNFCCC meet every year at the “Conference of the Parties” which is also known as the COP. The COP is the highest decision-making body in the climate negotiations. This is where all major decisions are made, which often happens with media attention from all around the world.  

COP21 brought about a new legally binding climate agreement

At COP21 in Paris in December 2015, 195 countries adopted a new legally binding climate agreement. The agreement aims to keep the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above the pre-industrial levels and encourages Parties to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1,5 °C above pre-industrial levels. In addition to this, the countries agreed that the global CO2 emissions should peak as soon as possible and afterwards be lowered rapidly. 

The new climate agreement will step into effect when at least 55 countries representing 55 pct. of global emissions has ratified the agreement in their respective parliaments.  The ratification of Denmark will firstly have to go through the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) before being ratified in the EU Parliament as a common decision.

 


Climate Negotiations in the EU

In parallel to the climate negotiations in the UN, the EU also has its own internal climate negotiations and objectives for the climate. It is based on these negotiated common objectives that the EU negotiates in the UN on behalf of Denmark and the other EU member states. The EU objectives are based on the so-called 20-20-20-plan from 2007 and the EU’s most recent climate and energy agreement from 2014.

The climate and energy agreement from 2014 sets three key targets for the year 2030

  1. European greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels.
  2. At least 27 percent of the European energy supply must come from renewable energy.
  3. EU countries must be at least 27 pct. more energy efficient compared to how the development would have been since 1990 if nothing had been done to become more energy efficient (business as usual). 

What is...

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), has since 1992 provided the framework for the international climate negotiations. The Climate Convention was established after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990 released a report on climate change. The report highlighted the risk that emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere might impact the earth’s climate in a dangerous way and to a previously unseen degree.  In the light of this, the UN General Assembly decided to establish a climate change convention. Today, 192 countries have joined the UNFCCC. Denmark signed the Convention in 1992.

The targets of the UNFCCC

The objective of the Convention is to stabilize the content of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in order to prevent dangerous and unintended climate change. This must be fashioned in a way that does not compromise food security or hinder sustainable social and economic development.

The COP

COP stands for “Conference of the Parties” and is the highest decision-making body in the climate negotiations. At the COP, all countries under the UNFCCC participate as well as representatives from business, NGO’s and international organizations. The COP-meetings take place once a year for two weeks. The COP Presidency rotates between the members of UNFCCC.