Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Gets Underway
7 December 2009: The UN Climate Change Conference opened in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 7 December, and is scheduled to conclude on 18 December 2009. The conference includes the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UNFCCC and the fifth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 5).
The conference marks the culmination of a two-year negotiating process to enhance international climate change cooperation under the Bali Roadmap, adopted by COP 13 in December 2007. Over one hundred world leaders are expected to attend the joint COP and COP/MOP high-level segment, which will take place from 16-18 December.
COP 15 and COP/MOP 5 are convening in conjunction with the 31st sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 31) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 31), the tenth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 10) and the eighth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 8).
The focus in Copenhagen is on the AWG-LCA and AWG-KP, which are the main bodies under the Bali Action Plan (BAP). AWG-LCA 8 has agreed to work through one contact group and is expected to draft texts on all the elements of the BAP for consideration by the COP. It is also discussing the legal nature of the "agreed outcome" on which parties have expressed differing views throughout 2009. AWG-KP 10 is continuing to work through four contact groups on Annex I emission reductions, other matters, potential consequences and legal matters. The emphasis of the AWG-KP's work is on Annex I emission reductions. All groups are focusing on preparing draft COP/MOP decisions or Protocol amendments. Both AWGs are scheduled to conclude their work on 15 December, and their Chairs will report the results to COP 15 and COP/MOP 5 respectively on 16 December. One of the main issues before the COP is the AWG-LCA's report. The COP's provisional agenda also includes items such as: five proposals for new protocols submitted by parties under Convention Article 17 (protocols); a proposal by Malta to amend Annex I of the Convention; financial mechanisms national communications; technology; and capacity building.
The COP/MOP agenda includes the AWG-KP's report and consideration of proposals by parties to amend the Kyoto Protocol. The COP/MOP will also consider issues such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint Implementation (JI), the Adaptation Fund and compliance.
During the opening ceremony, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen called for translating the existing political will "into a strong political approach." Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and COP President Connie Hedegaard (Denmark) underscored the urgency to act. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer also noted the unprecedented political momentum for a deal but warned that the COP would only be a success "if it delivers significant and immediate action that begins the day the conference ends." [IISD Coverage][UN Press Release][UNFCCC Press Release]