17. What progress has been made since the Kyoto Protocol?

Since the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, some small progress has been made in international negotiations. The main ones are:

• The Copenhagen Accord (2009)

Just as the 2015 Paris Conference seems crucial for reaching an international accord aiming to reduce emissions after 2020, the 2009 Copenhagen Conference represented a cut-off date for reaching an international accord to extend the Kyoto Protocol after its expiration in 2012.

Negotiations did not achieve the hoped-for outcome, since the Copenhagen Accord, approved by 141 parties, is not binding.(37) The participants made voluntary commitments to reduce or limit emissions until 2020.

The conference nonetheless gave rise to two ideas that remain crucial in the context of the negotiations leading up to 2015’s COP21. The first is the precise definition of the objective to be reached, namely limiting long-term global warming to 2°C. The second is the importance of including developing countries in reduction efforts and the financial commitment of industrialized countries to facilitate this transition through the Green Climate Fund.(38) 

• The Durban Conference (2011)

The importance that is accorded to the Paris Conference stems from a decision made during the 2011 Durban Conference to hold international negotiations in order to arrive at a binding agreement by 2015.(39)

• The Doha Conference (2012)

The Doha Conference negotiations led to a commitment by 38 parties to a second round of the Kyoto Protocol, for the 2013-2020 period,(40) while waiting for a new binding agreement, which would be signed in Paris in 2015, to come into effect. The emissions of the signatories represent just 14% of global emissions.(41)

• The Lima Conference (2014)

The countries each agreed to submit an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in 2015, before the Paris Conference. INDCs are proposed action plans for each country detailing emission reduction efforts for the post-2020 period.(42)

37. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Copenhagen Accord; United Nations, UN and Climate Change, Towards a climate agreement.
38. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Draft decision -/CP.15,” Conference of the Parties: Fifteenth Session, December 18, 2009.
39. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).
40. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol.
41. European Commission, Doha Climate Change Conference (COP18/CMP8), December 2012.
42. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, “Lima Call for Climate Action Puts World on Track to Paris 2015,” Press release, December 14, 2015.

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