In 2015, France will be chairing the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), which will be held in Paris in late 2015. This Conference is a crucial event, because it needs to result in a new international climate agreement, applicable to all countries.
The agreement will need to be universal and sustainable. It will need to send economic and political signals to make the economic development model shift to a new path, which needs to lead to carbon neutrality by the end of the century and compliance with the goal of keeping global warming below the 2°C ceiling.
The agreement will need to have four components:
a legal agreement;
national contributions with commitments for 2025 or 2030, for countries' efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
a financial aspect;
concrete commitments to action by non-governmental stakeholders (such as the “Lima-Paris Action Agenda” and the “Agenda of Solutions”).
A short history of climate negotiations
The scale of negotiations aimed at combating climate disruption has grown constantly since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. After the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, a longer-term vision took hold with the Bali Action Plan in 2007 and then the validation at Copenhagen in 2009 of a common goal of limiting global warming to 2°C. In 2010, the Cancun Conference enabled us to make this goal effective through the creation of dedicated institutions for key points, including those for adaptation to the effects of climate change, the Green Climate Fund and the Technology Mechanism.
The will to act together led to the creation of the Durban Platform (ADP), with the role of bringing together all developed and developing countries to work on a “protocol, legal instrument or agreed outcome with legal force”, applicable to all parties to the UN Framework Agreement on Climate Change. The “new instrument” will have to be adopted in 2015 and implemented from 2020. By the end of May 2015, a draft text of the agreement should be translated into all the languages of the United Nations and sent to the Parties.
The Doha Conference enshrined the commitment of several industrialized countries in a second period of commitment to the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020) and concluded the Bali Mandate. The 2013 Warsaw Conference and the 2014 Lima Conference helped take crucial steps towards reaching a universal climate agreement in Paris in 2015: all countries will have to communicate their contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible in 2015, and during the first quarter for those capable of doing so. The contributions will be aggregated and summarized by the UNFCCC by the end of October.