International

Climate change is a global challenge and requires a global solution. Through analysis and dialogue, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is working with governments and stakeholders to identify practical and effective options for the post-2012 international climate framework. Read more

 

Toward 2015: An International Climate Dialogue

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is convening an informal dialogue among officials from more than 20 countries on options for a new global climate agreement.

The Toward 2015 dialogue provides an informal opportunity for participants to examine issues related to the ongoing Durban Platform negotiations. The goal of the Durban Platform talks is a new agreement under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in late 2015 in Paris.

Report of the Co-Chairs

October 2014

Participants, who take part in their personal capacities, are meeting five times in 2014 and will continue meeting in 2015. The dialogue’s aim is an open exchange of ideas and views contributing to deeper common understandings both among the participants and within the broader climate community.

The dialogue co-chairs have released a report drawing on discussions held in the first four sessions from March to September 2014.

Toward 2015 is made possible with financial support from the governments of Australia, Germany, Norway and Switzerland.

CO-CHAIRS

The dialogue is co-chaired by Valli Moosa of South Africa and Harald Dovland of Norway.

Mr. Moosa served as South Africa’s Minister for Environment from 1999 to 2004.  As a leader of the African National Congress, he supported President Mandela in negotiating the transition from apartheid to democracy.  He has served as President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Chairman of Eskom, and Chairman of the UNFCCC High Level Panel on the CDM Policy Dialogue.  He is chairman of WWF (South Africa) and a Director of Lereko Investments, Sun International, Anglo Platinum, Sanlam and Imperial Holdings.

Mr. Dovland has served as Co-Chair of the UNFCCC Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform, Chair and Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol, and Chairman of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice.  A former head of the Norwegian delegation to the UNFCCC, Mr. Dovland retired from the Ministry for the Environment in 2011, and is currently Climate Policy Director for the consulting firm Carbon Limits.

PARTICIPANTS
(Participating in personal capacities. Title and affiliation included for informational purposes only).

Justin Lee
Ambassador for Climate Change
Sustainability and Climate Change Branch, Multilateral Policy Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Australia

Raphael Azeredo
Director, Department for the Environment and Special Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Brazil
 
Isabel Cavelier
Team Leader, Support Unit
Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC)
 
Gao Feng
Special Representative for Climate Change Negotiations
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
China
 
Jake Werksman
Principal Adviser
DG Climate Action
European Commission
 
Laurence Tubiana
Ambassador for Climate Change Negotiations
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
France
 
Pa Ousman Jarju
Minister
MInistry of Environment, Climate Change, Water Resources, Parks and Wildlife
The Gambia
 
Karsten Sach
Deputy Director General
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Germany
 
Leon Charles
Lead Climate Change Negotiator
Grenada
 
Hideaki Mizukoshi
Deputy Director General for Global Issues
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Japan
 
Alejandro Rivera Becerra
Director for Environmental Governance
Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores
Mexico
 
Jo Tyndall
Climate Change Ambassador
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
New Zealand
 
Aslak Brun
Chief Climate Negotiator
Ministry of Climate and Environment
Norway
 
Rómulo Acurio
Director de Medio Ambiente
Ministerio des Relaciones Externales
Peru
 
Oleg Shamanov
Head of Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Russian Federation
 
Khalid Abuleif
Sustainability Advisor to the Minister, Chief Negotiator for Climate Agreements,
Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources
Saudi Arabia
 
Fook Seng Kwok
Ambassador, Chief Negotiator for Climate Change
Climate Change Office
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Singapore
 
Alf Wills
Deputy Director-General
Department of Environmental Affairs
South Africa
 
Franz Perrez
Ambassador
Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications
Switzerland

Pete Betts
Director, International Climate Change
Department of Energy and Climate Change
United Kingdom
 
Trigg Talley
Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change
Department of State
United States
 
Claudia Salerno
Viceminister for North America
Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs
Venezuela
 

Additional C2ES resources on the international climate talks

Alongside the UNFCCC: Complementary Venues for Climate Action

Alongside the UNFCCC: Complementary Venues for Climate Action

May 2014

By Harro van Asselt, Stockholm Environment Institute

Download the full brief (PDF)

Climate change is a multi-faceted challenge that is intrinsically connected to a broad range of other issue
areas, and it must be addressed on multiple fronts. In considering the global response to climate change
post-2020, it is important to consider not only the central role of the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but also the potential roles of other international regimes and initiatives,
and links among them. This paper provides a brief overview of relevant non-UNFCCC venues and
suggests some broad issues for policymakers.

 

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Evolution of the International Climate Effort

 

Evolution of the International Climate Effort

May 2014

By Daniel Bodansky and Elliot Diringer

Download the full brief (PDF)

The international community is in the midst of shaping the next stage of the global climate effort—working
both within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and through the
broader “regime complex” that has grown alongside it. Within the UNFCCC, countries are working toward
a new global climate agreement in 2015. This brief looks at different ways the climate effort has evolved
over the years, and potential implications for the current round of international climate negotiations.

 

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Issues for a 2015 Climate Agreement

Issues for a 2015 Climate Agreement

May 2014

By Daniel Bodansky and Elliot Diringer

Download the full brief (PDF)

In 2011, parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) opened a new round of
negotiations aimed at delivering a global climate agreement in late 2015 in Paris. The decision launching
the Durban Platform talks spelled out some broad parameters: the new agreement is to have “legal force,”
be “applicable to all Parties,” and take effect from 2020. This brief outlines a wide range of issues before
the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform (ADP) regarding both the design of a 2015 climate
agreement and the process for negotiating it.

 

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Support for a spectrum of contributions to the 2015 agreement

A team of international legal scholars recently presented their analysis of the core principles guiding international climate change law. Their findings, particularly on the sensitive issue of equity, should be helpful to negotiators working toward a new global climate agreement next year in Paris.

The analysis by the Committee on the Legal Principles Relating to Climate Change comes as countries gear up for the final 18 months of a four-year round of climate negotiations under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Durban Platform decision that launched the talks in 2011 calls for an agreement that will apply post-2020, have “legal force,” and “be applicable to all Parties.”

That final phrase is an oblique nod to an issue at the core of the climate negotiations from the start – the appropriate distribution of effort among developed and developing countries. While not speaking directly to the Paris talks, the Committee makes a clear case for a more nuanced, evolutionary approach to this thorny issue of “differentiation.”

The UNFCCC speaks to the broad issue of equity primarily through the core principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.”  While the principle has universal support, how it’s applied is a frequent dividing point.

Carbon trading in China: short-term experience, long-term wisdom

Last week, Hubei Province became the sixth jurisdiction in China to launch a pilot carbon emissions trading program, joining Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, and Guangdong Province. In the coming months, two additional programs will be introduced in Chongqing and Qingdao. In total, the eight pilot programs will cover an estimated one billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTCO2), second only to the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. The pilot trading programs are part of the strategy laid out in China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) to reduce carbon intensity (CO2 emissions per unit of GDP) by 40-45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

As the world’s largest energy consumer and emitter of carbon dioxide, China’s efforts to rein in emissions are significant at both the global and national level. In addition to the carbon trading pilots, China recently announced measures to limit coal to 65 percent of primary domestic energy consumption by 2017, down from 69 percent in 2011, while also banning new coal generation in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Stronger action needed to meet U.S. climate pledge

In a recent report to the United Nations, the State Department lays out the United States’ strategy for achieving its goal of reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The strategy is “ambitious,” as the State Department says. But a close read reveals that, in some key respects, it is more a menu of options than a clear blueprint.

The Biennial Report is the first required of parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change as part of a series of measures aimed at ensuring greater transparency about steps countries are taking to meet their international climate pledges.

The figure below helps visualize the challenge facing the United States. The blue bar on the left represents 100 percent of U.S. emissions in 2005, or 7,195 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions. On the right side is the 2020 goal to reduce emissions by 1,223 million metric tons, or 17 percent.

Meeting our energy needs

The United States is moving toward meeting all of its energy needs from domestic resources even faster than was predicted just a year ago.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last year that the U.S. would become the world’s largest oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia, by 2017. Its new World Energy Outlook moves that up to 2015. The U.S. is already the world’s top producer of natural gas, a position it reached in 2012 thanks to an expanding supply of shale gas. The IEA sees the United States holding both top spots at least until the early 2030s and being energy self-sufficient by 2035.

This huge shift didn’t happen by accident, and it will have implications for both the economy and the environment.

Warsaw Climate Conference - COP 19

UN Climate Conference
COP 19 CMP 9

Warsaw, Poland
November 11-23, 2013

Governments meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw eked out a modest package of decisions that keep the international climate negotiations on track but underscore the formidable challenges facing parties as they work toward a new global agreement in Paris in 2015.

Events in Warsaw

Other Resources

 

The Warsaw outcome: A hint of what's to come

If one is looking for clues from Warsaw as to the future of the U.N. climate change effort, probably the most telling is the phrase “nationally determined.”

Governments have set themselves the goal of a new global climate agreement in 2015. At the annual U.N. climate talks that wrapped up this weekend in Warsaw, they agreed on some of the steps they’ll take to get there.

The decision adopted in Warsaw invites all parties to “initiate or intensify domestic preparations for their intended nationally determined contributions,” and to “communicate them well in advance” of the 2015 meeting, set for December in Paris.  It also establishes a loose timeline: by the first quarter of 2015 for those parties “ready to do so.”

This is primarily a procedural decision, a way to move the process forward. The reason it was so difficult to reach was that parties fought incredibly hard either to inject or to avoid substantive framing that would begin to define the shape of the Paris accord.

By the time they were done cramming clauses into the ungainly sentence at the heart of the decision, the parties had managed essentially to preserve the vague but delicate balance they’d struck in launching this latest round of talks two years ago in Durban. The 2015 agreement will be “applicable to all,” but its legal character, and how developed and developing country obligations will be differentiated, remain undefined.

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