International climate negotiations

Updated 07/12/2018

Several international agreements aim to reinforce international commitments for sustainable development.

Since Rio’s Earth Summit in 1992 and the adoption of the United-Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a common framework has been set up at an intergovemmental scale in order to meet the challenge of climate change at an international level. Today, UNFCCC gather 197 “Parties”: 196 countries and the European Union.

The Conference of the Parties (COP)

The COP is the supreme decision-making body of the CCNUCC. Every Year, countries that have signed the UNFCCC meet.
They assess the implementation of the Convention
They approve new decisions in order to refine the rules and negotiate new commitments
The Convention has also created two subsidiary bodies:  a Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and a Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). They aim to give advices to the COP under targeted mandates.

The Kyoto protocol

The Kyoto protocol was ratified on December 1997 and came into effect in 2005. This protocol is consider as the first step of the implementation of the objective of UNFCCC.
37 developed countries that have signed the Kyoto protocol have to reach a main objective: reduce at least 5% of their annual emission of greenhouse gases between 2008 and 2012 compared to 1990. For the first time, this protocol endorsed numerical and legally binding commitments for these 37 developed countries.
Others countries that have ratified the Kyoto protocol, especially the developing countries, who are not tied with a reduction of emission their greenhouse gases, have been helped in their efforts of fighting against climate change thanks to mechanisms such as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation.
During COP 17 in Durban in 2011, a second period of agreements was ratified for a period of 8 years. However, as the USA, Canada, Japan and Russia were not present, this new agreements only concern 15% of the global emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Paris Agreement on climate: mainstay of the new international climate regime

A universal and ambitious agreement

During the several COPs, International Climate Negotiations keeps to overcome the deficiencies of The Kyoto Protocol. It is in Paris on 12 December 2015 that an agreement has been reached.
First-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal, the Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2℃. Another objective has been set: from the second part of the 21st century, zero greenhouse gas emissions should be released in the atmosphere. This agreement aim to reinforce the countries capacity to face up the impacts of climate change, especially developing countries.

The foundation of the Paris Agreement:

Each countries have to elaborate and implement a national fight against climate change strategy. The Nationally Determined Contributions (NCD) are published on the CCNUCC website.
Every 5 years, the Climate Objectives have to be raised according to the new Nationally Determined Contributions decided by the Parties. The first global review will take place on 2023.
The developed countries mobilization of financial resources in order to help developing countries concerning the climate issue. (An objective of 100 billion dollars by 2020).
A stronger involvement of non-state actors (companies, communities, association, NGO…). During COP21, over 70 initiatives and internationals coalition committed to the fight climate change have been launched.
The Paris Agreement entered into force on 4 November 2016 after at least 55 countries had ratified it. It is also expected that a dialogue of facilitation will be set up in order to monitor the progress, accelerate the raise of the climate goals and inform on the development of NDC.