UNFCC

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  • United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • It is an international environment treaty
  • Opened for signature in 1992
  • Came into force from 1994
  • Secretariat is located in Bonn, Germany
  • Signatories : 165
  • Ratifiers : 197 (196 countries + EU)
  • The convention is legally non-binding, but makes provisions for meeting called ‘protocols’ where negotiating countries can set legally binding limits
  • What it does?
    • It aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system
    • The framework set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms.
    • Instead, the framework outlines how specific international treaties (called “protocols” or “Agreements”) may be negotiated to set binding limits on greenhouse gases. Kyoto Protocol was negotiated under this framework.
    • One of the first tasks set by the UNFCCC was for signatory nations to establish national greenhouse inventories of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals, which were used to create the 1990 benchmark levels for accession of Annex I countries to the Kyoto Protocol and for the commitment of those countries to GHG reductions. Updated inventories must be regularly submitted by Annex I countries.
  • Annex I, Annex II countries and developing countries

Parties to UNFCCC are classified as:

  • Annex I countries: industrialized countries and economies in transition
    • Annex I countries which have ratified the Protocol have committed to reduce their emission levels of greenhouse gasses to targets that are mainly set below their 1990 levels.
    • There are 43 Annex I countries and the European Union is also a member.
  • Annex II countries: developed countries which pay for costs of developing countries
    • Annex II countries are a sub-group of the Annex I countries. They comprise the OECD members, excluding those that were economies in transition in 1992.
    • There are 24 Annex II countries and the European Union. Turkey was removed from the Annex II list in 2001 at its request to recognize its economy as a transition economy.
  • Non Annex I countries: Developing countries.
    • Developing countries are not required to reduce emission levels unless developed countries supply enough funding and technology. Setting no immediate restrictions under UNFCCC serves three purposes:
      • it avoids restrictions on their development, because emissions are strongly linked to industrial capacity
      • they can sell emissions credits to nations whose operators have difficulty meeting their emissions targets
      • they get money and technologies for low-carbon investments from Annex II countries.
    • Developing countries may volunteer to become Annex I countries when they are sufficiently developed.
  • India is Non Annex party to UNFCC
  • Conference of Parties (COP) :
    • COP is the supreme decision-making body of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). ‎
    • All States that are Parties to UNFCCC are represented at COP. ‎
    • At COP, all parties review implementation of Convention and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of Convention.