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Doha leading the way

December 5, 2012

A new post by the National Climate Change Secretariat of Singapore, in their latest newsletter, shares what the acronyms of the UNFCCC mean! A great effort!

Doha COP18/CMP8

Doha COP18/CMP8

The 2012 UN Climate Change Conference will be held at Qatar’s National Convention Centre in Doha from 26 November to 7 December 2012. This event will include the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the eighth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP8).

At COP18, parties will discuss many important issues, such as the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, and a new global agreement on addressing climate change to be implemented from 2020.

I’ve heard of the UNFCCC. What is it?
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, is an international treaty which sets an overall framework for governments around the world to cooperate to address climate change. It recognises that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The ultimate aim of the UNFCCC is to prevent “dangerous” human interference with the climate system.

The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994 and has near-universal membership today. 195 countries have ratified the Convention and Singapore is one of them.

What is the COP?
The Conference of Parties (COP) is an annual event going back to the inception of the UNFCCC in 1995 where member countries meet to assess the progress in dealing with climate change, as well as negotiate and adopt decisions on how to deal with climate change. Successive decisions taken by the COP make up a detailed set of rules for practical and effective implementation of the Convention.

Why all the fuss about the Kyoto Protocol?
In a nutshell, the protocol is the only binding contract in existence, ratified by the United Nations, for countries to curb their production of greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol only sets binding targets on industrialised countries because it recognises that they are largely responsible for the current high levels of greenhouse gases emissions in the atmosphere, which are the result of more than 150 years of industrial activity.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 industrialised countries, and the European Community have to meet binding targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the first commitment period from 2008 to 2012. Overall, these targets add up to an average five per cent emissions reduction compared to 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008 to 2012.

How is Singapore involved in the climate change negotiations? 

Singapore has been an active player in international climate change negotiations. We had ratified the UNFCCC in 1997 and acceded to the Kyoto Protocol in 2006.

Singapore had also announced, just before the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009, a pledge to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 16% below Business-as-Usual (BAU) levels in 2020. Singapore’s pledge is based on the condition that there should be a legally binding global agreement in which all countries implement their commitments in good faith.

Although a legally binding agreement has yet to be reached, Singapore has nonetheless started to implement mitigation and energy efficiency measures which should reduce our emissions by 7% to 11% from the 2020 BAU level. We are also working with other countries under the UNFCCC to negotiate a new international climate agreement which is expected to come into effect in 2020.

Want to learn more about Singapore’s climate change efforts? Download our 2 National Communications (August 2000, November 2010) and out National Climate Change Strategy 2012 now! You can also stay in touch with the latest happenings via Facebook at the following links!



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