Climate Change

January 29, 2020

1. Outline of the International Framework on Climate Change (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement)

The international community tackles the global challenge of climate change. There are three key instruments that promote international efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emission and to adapt to adverse impacts of climate change.

(1) United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • Purpose: Stabilization of the concentrations of greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, etc.) in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interface with the climate system.
  • Established in May 1992, effective from March 1994. Parties to the convention: 197 (countries and regional economic integration organization)
  • Differentiation between developed and developing countries (“reflecting each country’s “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”)
    • Annex I Parties: Parties mentioned as having greenhouse gas reduction targets (developed countries and countries that are undergoing the process of transition to a market economy) (Note: There is no reduction obligation.)
    • Non-Annex I Parties: Developing countries not mentioned as having greenhouse gas reduction targets
    • Annex II Parties: Countries (developed countries) with an obligation to provide financial support for the fulfillment of obligations under the Convention by non-Annex I Parties
  • At the COP1, obligations on Annex I Parties were strengthened (Berlin Mandate).

(2) Kyoto Protocol (Framework until 2020)

  • Emission reduction obligation
  • Obligation imposed on Annex I Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain amount within a specified period of time vis-à-vis no reduction obligation on non-Annex I Parties (developing countries).
    • First commitment period (2008 to 2012): Japan -6%, USA -7%, EU -8%
    • Second commitment period (2013 to 2020): EU -20%, Japan -not participating.
  • Established in Kyoto in December 1997, effective from February 2005. Parties: 192 (countries and regional economic integration organization)
  • USA signed but has not ratified the Protocol. (Canada withdrew in December 2012.)

(3) Paris Agreement (Framework from 2020)

  • At COP21 held in December 2015, the Paris Agreement was adopted as a framework applicable to all Parties for the first time in history. The Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016.

2. History of Negotiations on Climate Change

1992: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) adopted (effective from 1994)
1997: Kyoto Protocol adopted (COP3) (effective from 2005)
[Note] Not ratified by USA
  • Copenhagen Accord (COP15)
    • COP took note of the listing of emission reduction targets and actions up to 2020 of developed countries and developing countries (COP decision not reached).
  • Cancun Agreements (COP16)
    • Emission reduction targets submitted by each country organized into UN documents.
  • Durban Platform (COP17)
    • Ad-hoc working group (ADP) was established to develop a new framework applicable to all Parties.
  • Doha Climate Gateway (COP18)
    • Established the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
  • Warsaw decision (COP19)
    • The timing of the submission of emission reduction targets from 2020 (intended nationally determined contributions: INDC) was determined.
  • Lima Call for Climate Action (COP20)
    • Contents of information to be provided when submitting INDC were agreed upon and elements for a draft negotiating text for framework were elaborated on.
  • Paris Agreement adopted (COP21) (entered into force on November 4, 2016)
    • Agreement reached for the first time where all parties participate in taking concrete measures against climate change.

3. Details of the Negotiations on Climate Change

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