News > Press releases > Informal climate chang ...

Press releases

Informal climate change talks to convene 21 April in NY

21 April, New York - Mr. Jan Pronk, Chairman of the international negotiations on climate change, has invited some 40 ministers and senior officials to attend informal talks in New York on Saturday, 21 April 2001. The meeting will take stock of the political situation since the suspension of negotiations in The Hague last November and seek to advance preparations for the resumed sixth session of the Conference of the Parties, which will be held in Bonn during the period 16 - 27 July. The 21 April meeting is closed to the press.

Mr. Pronk and UNFCCC Executive Secretary Michael Zammit Cutajar will hold a press briefing immediately after the meeting, at 6 p.m. in the Astor Salon of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, 301 Park Avenue, New York City.

Journalists planning to attend should arrive by 5:45 p.m. and must provide a UN press accreditation pass, a NYC Police Press Pass, or a valid national press card. If you have questions about credentials or other matters, please contact the press officer, Michael Williams, at the following numbers:

· Tuesday the 17th in Geneva at +41-22-9178242 or +41-79-409-1528 (cellular)

· Thursday to Saturday, the 19th to 21st, at the Cole Porter Suite of the Waldorf Astoria, +1-212-355-3000, through the UN Department for Public Information at +1-212-963-9495, or Swiss cellular +41-79-409-1528, or michael.williams@unep.ch.

Please note that "New Proposals by the President of COP 6", released on 9 April, and other background information is available at www.unfccc.int

PRESS BACKGROUNDER
Some key facts about the Convention and the Protocol

The Climate Change Convention
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted in 1992. It provides the unifying framework of institutions and processes needed for global cooperation on climate change. This means that, whatever disagreements may have arisen over the Kyoto Protocol, the Convention's 187 Parties will continue to meet on a regular basis to discuss how to carry out their Convention-related commitments; the next official meeting of the Parties to the Convention will take place from 16 - 27 July in Bonn.
Under the Convention, both developed and developing countries are committed to adopting national programmes for mitigating climate change and developing strategies for adapting to its impacts. They are also to take climate change into account in their relevant social, economic, and environmental policies; cooperate in scientific, technical, and educational matters; minimize the effects of response measures on developing countries; and promote education, public awareness, and the exchange of information related to climate change. Additional commitments apply to developed countries only, including taking action aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by the year 2000 and providing financial and technological support to developing countries.


The Convention sets out a number of guiding principles for global cooperation on climate change. The precautionary principle says that the lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as an excuse to postpone action when there is a threat of serious or irreversible damage. The principles of equity and of the "common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities" of states confirm that developed countries should take the lead in combating climate change and its adverse effects. The principle of cost effectiveness seeks to ensure that the global benefits of minimizing climate change are achieved at the lowest possible cost. Other principles deal with the special needs of developing countries and the importance of promoting sustainable development.


The Kyoto Protocol and entry into force

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol builds on the Convention and constitutes a second step in the global campaign to address climate change. It was negotiated under the Convention's auspices on the basis of a mandate agreed in 1995. The original two years of talks that led to the Protocol's adoption have been followed by more than three additional years of negotiations because many of the operational details of the Protocol's mechanisms still need to be finalized.


The Protocol sets a "double trigger" for its entry into force. First, the Protocol will only enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 55 Convention Parties. Second, these ratifying Parties must include industrialized (Annex I) countries representing at least 55% of this group's total 1990 carbon dioxide emissions.

The agreed percentages of CO2 emissions are set out in the report of the conference that adopted the Protocol (see page 60 of the report, which is posted at http://www.unfccc.int/resource/docs/cop3/07a01.pdf). They include 24.2% for the European Union countries (which could be expected to ratify as a group), 7.4% for the countries with economies in transition, 8.5% for Japan, 17.4% for the Russian Federation, and 36.1% for the US. Any combination adding up to 55% would trigger entry into force, while any combination adding up to 45% would prevent it.

Data and projections on emissions

The latest data on current emissions of CO2 from fuel combustion, which is the largest and most easily measurable source of greenhouse gases (GHGs), are shown in the tables below. Some highlights:

  • Aggregate emissions from Annex I (developed country) Parties in 2000 will be below that of 1990. The overall aim of stabilizing developed country emissions at 1990 levels by 2000 will thus be achieved for carbon dioxide.
  • In effect, the slump in CO2 emissions from the Russian Federation and other economies in transition more than compensates for the marked increases in emissions from the US and other Annex II (OECD) Parties. Within the latter group, reductions in emissions from Germany and the UK kept total emissions from the European Union at around 1990 levels. Current emissions from Annex I Parties of all six GHGs covered by the Kyoto Protocol are estimated to be some 6 per cent below 1990 levels.

  • Aggregate CO2 emissions from non-Annex I (developing country) Parties now account for some 38 per cent of global emissions.
  • Emissions per head of CO2 in the main groups of Parties remain very far apart: non-Annex I (developing) countries emit two tons per head; Annex II (developed) countries, 12 tons, including 20 tons for the US.

The latest projections indicate that for all greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto
Protocol:

  • GHG emissions from Annex I Parties in 2010 are likely to be some 5 to 10 per cent above 1990 levels, under a business-as-usual scenario, i.e. without measures to implement the Kyoto Protocol. (This is a measure of the collective effort called for by the Protocol. It is about half the effort estimated at the time the Protocol was adopted.)
  • According to the scenarios used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries may catch up with emissions from developed countries around 2015-2020, although emissions per head will still be much lower in these countries.


Emissions of CO2 (in Mt) in 1998 from Fuel Combustion *

 
Total CO2 emissions(Mt)
CO2 emissions per capita
(t/inhabitant)
World **
22,726
3.9
Non-Annex I Parties
8,622
1.9
Annex I Parties
13,383
11.0
Annex II Parties
10,972
12.0
Economies in Transition
2,592
8.2

 

Top 20 countries (based on 1998 emissions level) plus EU *

 
Total CO2 emissions(Mt)
CO2 emissions
per capita (t/inhabitant)
United States of America
5,410
20.1
China (inc.Hong Kong)
2,893
2.3
Russian Federation
1,416
9.6
Japan
1,128
8.9
India
908
0.9
Germany
857
10.4
United Kingdom
550
9.3
Canada
477
15.8
Italy
426
7.5
France
376
6.4
 
 
 
Republic of Korea
370
8.0
Ukraine
359
7.1
Mexico
356
3.7
South Africa
354
8.5
Poland
320
8.3
Australia
311
16.6
Brazi
l 296
1.8
Saudi Arabia
271
13.1
Islamic Republic of Iran
260
4.2
Spain
254
6.5
 
 
 
European Union
3171
8.5

* Source: IEA CO2 emissions from fuel combustion 1971-1998, Paris, 2000.
** "World" includes all Parties and non-Parties to the UNFCCC

 

Saturday 21 Apr 2001
All (1051)
2014 (3)
2013 (13)
2012 (7)
2011 (29)
2010 (34)
2009 (54)
2008 (48)
2007 (31)
2006 (31)
2005 (38)
2004 (44)
2003 (85)
2002 (104)
2001 (114)
October (11)
August (2)
July (7)
June (11)
May (13)
April (7)
March (11)
2000 (71)
1999 (143)
1998 (119)
1997 (76)
1996 (7)