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The East African : Nov 28th 2015
32 The EastAfrican OUTLOOK NOVEMBER 28 - DECEMBER 4, 2015 S U S TA INAB L E D E VE LO PME N T Region braces itself for tough negotiations at climate change meeting in Paris Some of the p≥oposals developing count≥ies a≥e making potentially th≥eaten the competitiveness of indust≥ialised nations By MICHAEL WAKABI Special Correspondent A s experts gather for the 21st edition of the Conference of Parties “COP21,” in Paris this week, developing countries are digging in for protracted negotiations since some of the proposals they are making potentially threaten the competitiveness of industrialised countries. Among the contentious propos- als being pushed is an arrangement under which least developed countries would be allowed to continue using existing but carbon offensive technologies until they reach acceptable levels of development while industrialised countries immediately stop their own emissions. Ethiopia and the East African Community member states have been thrashing out some of these proposals as they work towards a common position on matters such as adaptation and vulnerability to climate change, as well as means of implementing a new emissions regime and technology transfer. During a recent pre-COP meet- ing organised by GIZ — an organisation whose focus is international development — for negotiators in Entebbe, participants from the EAC and Ethiopia pointed out that while Africa was not responsible for global warming, the continent remains most exposed to its effects, and therefore the agreement sought in Paris is inequitable, as it could force developing countries to forego the very technologies that helped Western countries grow, without assured access to newer technologies. Delegates to the Entebbe meet- ing pointed out that there is a lack of clarity in the Paris draft of how adaptation will be addressed, noting that there is a need to anchor actions related to adaptation in the agreement. The East African collective is pushing for an agreement that A demonstration calling for climate justice for Africa, held on November 14 in Nairobi. Picture: AFP commits developed countries to support climate change adaptation in developing countries. It is also interested in getting developed countries to commit to a long term climate change mitigation plan that will keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees centigrade by 2030. Without action to control current emission levels, global temperatures will rise 4 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, threatening the continued viability of life in its current form on earth. Developing countries feel that they are being asked to shoulder a disproportionate share of mitigation measures. For instance, at 1.39 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita annually, Uganda is the low- TIMELINE TO THE 2015 UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE OF PARTIES 1970s 1979: Jan. First World Climate Conference is held in Geneva (Switzerland). A World Climate Research Programme is launched and entrusted to the World Meteorological Organisation, the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Council of Scientific Unions. 1980s 1988 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is launched, and is charged with the task of assessing climate change issues and its impacts. 1990s 1990 “At the 2009 Copenhagen COP, developed countries made the commitment to raise $100 billion per year from 2020.” IPCC releases its first report confirming the existence of global warming, noting that humans are responsible for it. The report forms the basis for drawing up the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 1992: Jun. 3-14 The UNFCCC is created at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Its objective is to stabilise atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent any dangerous human interference with the climate system. The Framework Convention entered into force on March 21, 1994 and has been ratified by 195 countries. The UNFCCC Secretariat, headquartered in Bonn, Germany, plays a key role in organising the negotiations. 1997: Dec. 1-12 The Kyoto Protocol is adopted. For the first time, it sets quantified greenhouse gas reduction commitments for developed countries between 2008 and 2012. est emitter among least developed countries in the African group and yet it has been forced to commit to a 22 per cent reduction by 2030. “The irony of international cli- mate change negotiations or intergovernmental processes is that the The worry is whether we shall have an agreement that truly caters for the interests of the most vulnerable communities.” Chebet Maikut, head of the Climate Change Department at Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment most vulnerable usually don’t get what they deserve but what they negotiate. The worry now is whether we shall have an agreement in Paris that truly caters for the interests of the most vulnerable communities in the world,” said Chebet Maikut, the head of the Climate Change Department at Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment. He, for example, questioned how a country like Uganda, which is likely to suffer most from the impacts of climate change, even though it was historically not responsible for causing it, will cope under the new agreement. “Uganda has not caused emis- sions but when it comes to impacts such as erratic rainfall patterns, droughts or floods, we continue to 2000s 2005: Feb. 16 The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, involving 36 developed countries. The US and Australia fail to ratify it. COP sessions are now paired with the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP). The first Meeting of the Parties is held in Montreal – COP11/CMP1 – from November 28December 10, 2005. 2007: Dec. 3–15 The Bali Action Plan opens negotiations with a view of adopting a new international agreement in 2009, to follow on from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. 2009: Dec.7–18 COP15/CMP5 is held in Copenhagen, Denmark, and approves the shared target to limit global warming to 2°C, but no new international agreement is signed. 2010: Nov. 29 –Dec. 10 In Cancún, Mexico, institutions such as the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries adapt and mitigate effects of climate change, are created. 2011: Nov. 28 – Dec. 11 The Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) is created to produce a new “protocol with legal force,” to serve a basis for negotiating sessions in Bonn, Germany. This agreement should be adopted this year and is to take effect in 2020. That is the challenge of COP21.
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