What is UNFCCC and COP21 Paris – Is it too little too late? (Part 3) 什么是“联合国气候变化框架公约”和“巴黎第二十一届联合国气候变化大会”? – 现在才亡羊补牢是否效力不足又太迟?(第三篇)

By Edward Shen | 沈埃迪

Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change on 12 December 2015, it was hailed as “a monumental triumph for people and our planet” by United Nations Secretary–General Ban Ki-moon.

Ban Ki-Moon

For the first time, 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), representing near universal membership, reached solid agreement on all key points. But is it too little too late? How is the Paris approach different from the previous attempts to reach agreement?

It took 24 years for the evolution of the global climate effort to reach Paris. (Fig. 1)


Negotiations started in 1991 and established in 1992 at the Rio Convention a basic system of governance but with no binding emission targets (Act Ⅰ). The 1997 Kyoto Protocol adopted a top-down regulatory approach with agreed limits on GHG emission, legally binding detailed rules, rigorous accounting and compliance mechanism, and with strong differentiation between developed and developing countries. Kyoto adopted strong legal and technical rigor but resulted in shrinking participation with reduction targets covered only 13% of global emissions (ActⅡ). (Fig. 2)

Climate Change Talk - King's College London
Copenhagen/Cancún 2009 took on a bottom-up approach with parallel nonbinding framework established via political agreement at Copenhagen followed by a set of COP decisions at Cancún. Copenhagen/Cancún invited broad participation but settled for low ambition with emission pledge falling well short of 2℃ pathway (Act Ⅲ). (Fig. 3)

Climate Change Talk - King's College London

ActⅣ was setoff by the 2011 Durban Platform for Enhanced Action with agreement to be reached by COP21 at Paris and implementation from 2020. What then was envisaged for 2015 Paris that was not achievable by the earlier summits? What strategy and role was played out by the international climate regime this time?

It becomes clear from this evolution process that there are but three roles the international climate regime can play out.

1. A prescriptive model that imposes obligations that make some countries better off and others worst off. A prescriptive model not necessarily would produce compliance.

2. A contractual model memorializes commitments by States in exchange for commitments by other. As climate change issues are driven by domestic politics, for any agreement to succeed, it has to leave all participants better off and are acceptable domestically.

3. A facilitative model has to be based on States willing to take action on their own. The international regime can help catalyzes, encourage and reinforce action through assistance and by soft pressure through transparency in implementation.

It was obvious then that the Paris summit needs to adopt a hybrid approach that combines the top-down and bottom-up approach. On the one hand it should allow national flexibility to promote participation, encourage experimentation and enhance greater ambition, on the other hand it should adopt prescriptive International Rules to attain transparency, accountability and reciprocity. Such ground work was laid down before Paris, in Warsaw in 2013 and in Lima in 2014 where parties were invited to communicate their “intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs)” to the new agreement in advance of Paris. Hence Paris’s outcome was a package with a number of different elements- a core agreement which will be a treaty within the meaning of international law, an ancillary instrument to house NDCs, and COP decisions adopted at COP21 or thereafter.

So what are the most significant aspects about the new Paris agreement?
The agreement sends out a positive message to the world that countries are serious about addressing climate change. The agreement provides a way forward to limit temperature rise to well below 2 degrees, may be even 1.5. It is an ambitious, dynamic and universal agreement that covers all countries and all emissions and contains a transparency framework to build mutual trust and confidence. The agreement requires all countries to take action, while recognizing their differing situations and circumstances. It provides a binding requirement to assess and review progress on the countries’ action plans and will require countries to continuously upgrade their commitments and will not allow backtracking. (Fig. 4)

Climate Change Talk - King's College London
The Paris Agreement is a legal instrument that will guide the process for universally acting on climate change. It is a hybrid of legally binding and non-binding provisions based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and capacities in the light of different national circumstances. How can Paris get us to the 2 degree or even 1.5 degree goal then?

The world did not expect the Paris Agreement to secure commitments to immediately reach that goal, but rather agree on a process that will get us there. With the Agreement, the world can say we have a chance now to reach our goal which we couldn’t say if there were no-agreement. Decisions to give effect to the Agreement include clauses on measures of mitigation, adaptation, loss and damages, finance, technology development and transfer, capacity building, transparency of action and support, global stocktake, and facilitating implementation and compliance. While the agreement does not take effect until 2020, provision for Enhanced Action prior to 2020 is given so that implementation begins tomorrow including countries will need to mobilize resources, including the $100 billion pledged by developed countries. Countries agreed in Paris to take rigorous action to promote climate action, ramp up financing and begin implementation of respective climate plans. In 2018 countries will have an opportunity to review their collective effort against the global goals prior to formally submitting their national contributions to the new agreement and this exercise will be repeated every five years.

It is a scientifically proven and accepted fact that the world has already warmed by 0.85 degrees since industrialization and the pace is picking up. Is it too little too late? What seems to be the undeniable truth is the more we delay, the more we pay. Whether it is doable, taking climate action now is absolutely imperative to halt the extreme weather events due to ACD impacts and the consequential calamities brought to humankind and this planet we all call our home.




全球针对气候变化所作出的努力由开始到今年的巴黎峰会已经历了24年的发展演变。 (图1)谈判开始自1991年并在1992年里约峰会上制定了一套基本的管理制度, 但并没有设定任何具法律约束力的碳排放目标(行动Ⅰ)。1997年的《京都协议书》采用了由上而下的规管方法,并协定温室气体排放上限,具法律约束力的详细条文,设定严格的计算标准和合规管理机制,和明确区分发展国家和发展中国家的角色地位。 《京都协议书》采用强有力的法律和技术标准,但结果导致参与的成员数目萎缩,最后参与的成员只能代表全球碳排放量的13%而已(行动Ⅱ)。 (图2)

有别于京都,2009年哥本哈根/坎昆气候峰会采取了一个自下而上的协议策略,在哥本哈根协议制定了各国并行但不具约束力的框架,然后在坎昆进一步落实了框架下的实施细则。 哥本哈根/坎昆峰会成功争取较多的成员出席峰会,但所订目标并不进取,减排承诺远低于不超出2摄氏度气候温度变化的目标(行动Ⅲ)。(图3)

2011德班峰会发起了行动Ⅳ,进一步加强各国间的碳减排行动,并决议在第二十一届巴黎气候峰会时达成最终协议,及由2020年开始实施。 对那些先前未能达到目标的峰会,我们对这次巴黎峰会寄予什么期待呢? 国际气候组织曾采取什么策略及以什么角色去完成使命呢?


1. 采取一个制约性的模式,所强加的责任和义务不会公平对待所有国家,有些国家会得益较多,有些国家会得益较少,但制约性模式不一定会令成员完全顺从。

2. 采取一个合约性的模式,把各个国家的承诺记录在案,作为交换国与国之间彼此的承诺,由于气候变化所产生的问题实质牵涉各个国家的内部施政,要令任何协议可以成功推动,都要让参与国得到实质利益并且需要符合各国的实际国情。

3. 采取一个基于国家自己意愿而采取行动的促进性模式,国际气候组织能通过促进,鼓励和增援提供协助,亦通过行动的透明度对成员施以软压力从而加强推动力。

很显然巴黎峰会需要采取一种混合式的方法。这将结合了自上而下和自下而上的两种方法,一方面允许国家具弹性地去参与,勇于作出尝试和提高志向抱负,另一方面加上法规性的国际条例,以体现透明的问责性和互惠性。在巴黎峰会召开前,这些工作早在2013年的华沙峰会和2014年的利马峰会已经奠定了基础,缔约成员提前被邀请去交流及提议他们个别的“国家自主贡献预案(INDC)”,故此巴黎峰会的结果是一个带有不同元素的综合协议 – 一个具国际法规地位的核心盟约,盟约内的附件以刊载各国的“自主贡献建议”,和第二十一届气候峰会和之后订定的各项决议。



巴黎协议将成为一份严肃的法律文件,对全球未来如何应对气候变化提供一个指导框架。 基于各国国情不同,所以在面对共同的问题上各自有不同的承担和所肩负的责任,在此基础上达成了一个综合性既具法律约束力的盟约,而又具备非约束性的规则条文。那么巴黎协议如何可以引领我们实现温度上升幅度低于2摄氏度甚至是1.5摄氏度的目标呢?




“GLOBE SERIES” <info@globeseries.com>
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change FCCC/cp/2015/L.9/Rev.1 Previewing the Paris Climate Change Conference by Daniel Bodansky, Arizona State University

What is UNFCCC and COP21 Paris – The 2 degrees Celsius mythology (Part 2) 什么是“联合国气候变化框架公约”和“巴黎第二十一届联合国气候变化大会”? – 一个2摄氏度的神话(第二篇)

[SRT Sharing Session – 城設分享]

What is UNFCCC and COP21 Paris – The 2 degrees Celsius mythology (Part 2)
什么是“联合国气候变化框架公约”和“巴黎第二十一届联合国气候变化大会”? – 一个2摄氏度的神话(第二篇)

By Edward Shen | 沈埃迪


The 195-nation UN climate group had adopted in Copenhagen/Cancún a goal of limiting the increase in average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, which scientists to say is the threshold to avoid catastrophic consequences.  This 2 degrees temperature goal is likely to be reaffirmed by the Pairs Agreement.  According to the World Meteorological Organization, this year 2015 will easily be on course to become the hottest year on record and the world is also on course to reach the significant milestone of 1 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era.  The US Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration released a report that shows 2015’s global temperatures are above the historic norm by 0.86 degree Celsius which is a further 0.22 degree Celsius above 2014’s peak and may turnout to be the hottest year since 1880.  The UK Meteorological Office has in fact shown that this year’s global temperature average has already surpassed that 1 degree Celsius level.


Renowned climate scientist James Hansen and other scientists have already shown that a planetary temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial baseline temperatures is enough to cause runaway climate feedback loops, extreme weather events and a disastrous rise in sea level.


Australian and New Zealand –based scientists’ study warned that the planet will be locked into thousands of years of unstoppable sea level rise from a melting Antarctic as temperature rise of just 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius will lead to a massive reduction in ice.   Many scientists cast doubt on optimistic computer models suggesting that the temperature rise can in fact be restricted to 2 degrees, Professor Sybren Drijfhout from Ocean and Earth Science at University of Southampton supported the view that “no safe limit exists and that many abrupt shifts already occur for global warming levels much lower than 2 degrees.”


It is generally believed even a 2 degree temperature increase will trigger rising sea levels, engulfing Pacific Island countries, Bangladesh and cities like Miami, New York, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Mumbai.  Desert will grow and millions of hectares of fertile farmland will disappear.  UNFAO made the study and prediction that each degree of planetary temperature rise will bring about a 10% decrease in world food production.


The UN announced in advance of the Paris talks that the amount of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere has locked in another 2.7 degrees Celsius warming at a minimum, even if countries move forward with the pledges they make to cut emissions, implying even the 2 degree Celsius goal is already unattainable.

To put the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels picture in perspective, its concentration has hit a new milestone to in excess of 400 parts per million(0.04%) in early 2015, a 30% increase in 50 years, and a 45% increase over pre-industrial levels.

It is generally believed despite the INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) carbon emissions reduction pledges made by majority of the 196 parties which have gathered in Paris and representing 97.8% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, we are still locked into a minimum of 2.7 degrees Celsius warming by 2100, and depending on the assumptions one uses in projections, the world could very well be heading to a 3.1 degrees or 3.5 degrees Celsius warming.  What then do the INDC add up to?   If all the INDC promises are fully met by 2030 and then extended for 70 years, Economist Bjorn Lomborg suggests that the entirety of the Paris promises will reduce global temperatures by just 0.17 degrees Celsius.


As climate scientists have already claimed that disastrous sea level rise and extreme weather events can be caused by just a 1 degree Celsius planetary temperature rise, a coalition of nations most at risk including the Philippines, Kiribati, the Maldives and Bangladesh have appealed for the global community to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.

While countries wrestle on issues of long term emission goals, how rich countries should help developing nations to cope with climate change with development funding and loss compensation, and how the international climate regime should work, the world is being ravaged by more extreme weather events propelled by Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD).

This ACD induced abrupt climatic shifts is evidenced by 200 miles per hour hurricane winds in Mexico, first ever hurricane recorded in history for Yemen, alternate drought and El Nino rain storm in California, lack of food and water brought on by a drought crisis in Papua New Guinea, agriculture being wiped out by the worst drought in a decade in Ethiopia, irreversible retreat of ice cap in the Antarctic (causing rise in sea level) and the absence of ice for more months of the year in the Arctic (reflecting less sunlight back into space hastening pace of planetary warming), and ACD-fueled wildfires ravaged Indonesia and the Southern Hemisphere.

Kiribati’s President Anote Tong said his country could be uninhabitable within 50 years because of diminishing drinking water and crop failures due to encroaching sea water.  And the evidence of ACD induced extreme weather events goes on.

Prestigious scientific bodies of the world have produced one report after another that shows us the time for action was the day before yesterday.  While global leaders will appear as though they are doing something to address the single greatest crisis of humanity, the way that the leaders are talking, they might reach a workable agreement the day after the tomorrow that never comes.

What hope then can we pin onto the COP 21 now in progress in Paris?

To be continued in part 3…

在第十五届哥本哈根/坎昆举行的195个国家组成的气候大会上,设立了限制全球气温上升在2摄氏度以内的目标,科学家表明这是避免灾难性的后果的最低门槛。在2015年巴黎气候大会上应该确认及重申这个2摄氏度的目标。 据世界气象组织报告,2015年将是有记录以来的最热年,世界肯定正在迈向超过工业革命前时代的气温1摄氏度的重要里程碑。美国海洋和大气管理局发布的报告表明,2015年的全球温度比较历史标准已超过了0.86摄氏度,这一数值比较去年峰值也超过了0.22摄氏度,且可能成为1880年以来最热的一年。英国气象办公室发布的消息已显示出今年的全球平均上升温度已经超过1摄氏度的水平。



一般认为即使是2摄氏度的温度上升亦将导致海平面的上升,带来一系列的严重影响,如太平洋的诸岛国,孟加拉国及迈阿密、纽约、广州、上海及孟买等这些城市将会被海水淹没。 沙漠化会更加恶化,数以百万公顷计的肥沃农田将会消失。联合国粮农组织研究表明并预言,地球气温每上升1摄氏度将导致世界粮食产量10%的减少。


用现实正确的角度去分析大气中的二氧化碳含量,早在2015年初其浓度已超过400 ppm(0.04%)的新高点,对比50年前增加了30%,对比工业革命前提高了45%。








http://www.smh.com.au/environment/un-climate-conference/paris-2015-carbon-promises-lock-in2.7degrees-of -warming-un-says20151030-gkmuw5.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/19/world/africa/ethispia-a-nation-of farmers-strains-under-severe-drought.html
http://www.the guardian.com/world/2015.nov/02/melting-ice-in-west-antarctic-could-raise seas-by-3m-warns-study

What is UNFCCC and COP 21 Paris (Part 1) 什么是“联合国气候变化框架公约”和“巴黎第二十一届联合国气候变化大会”?(第一篇)


[SRT Sharing Session – 城設分享]

What is UNFCCC and COP 21 Paris (Part 1)

By Edward Shen | 沈埃迪

COP 21 stands for the 21st Conference of the Parties. The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995; at COP 3 the famous Kyoto Protocol was adopted; followed by the formulation of the Montreal Action Plan at COP 11; COP 15 in Copenhagen established a set of COP decisions (Cancún) but only managed to attain non-legally binding pledges; Durban hosted COP 17 and created the Green Climate Fund, 2014’s COP 20 in Lima conducted talks with the “Lima Call for Climate Action”. This year’s COP 21 is held in Paris and is billed as the most important climate meeting of the world community ever.

The goal is to have country governments commit to taking steps to cut carbon dioxide emissions so as to limit planetary warming to within 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial revolution temperature baseline (fig I).


This series of conferences is taken as the political response the international community reacted to earth’s climate change which began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 where a UN Framework on Climate Change was adopted. The “Rio Convention” (UNFCCC) set out a framework for action and system of governance aimed at stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of green house gases (GHGs) to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system – anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD). The convention opened for signature at Rio in 1992 and entered into force in 1994 by 195 parties.

To be continued in part 2…

COP21 即第二十一届联合国气候变化大会。 第一届联合国气候变化大会于1995年在柏林举行;第三届则通过了著名的《京都议定书》; 而在第十一届气候大会制定了“蒙特利尔行动计划”;第十五届哥本哈根联合国气候变化大会有达成决议,但只为一套不具法律约束力的承诺; 德班主办了第十七届会议,并创立了绿色气候基金; 2014年的第二十届秘鲁的利马气候大会,传达出“利马呼吁气候行动”; 今年第二十一届气候大会在巴黎举行,被标榜为至今最重要的世界气候会议。


这一系列的会议被视为国际社会对地球气候改变作出的政治形式回应,这回应开始自1992年里约的地球峰会上,并制定了一个气候变化的行动框架和管理制度 (联合国气候变化框架公约) ,旨在稳定大气层的温室气体浓度(GHGs),以避免危险的人类性污染引致的气候系统变化 -人为气候破坏(ACD)。 这一协议由195个缔约成员于1992年公开签署,并于1994年正式生效。