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United Nations climate change body convenes

December 28, 2011 - SOUTH AFRICA

Durban hosts the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Kyoto Protocol. The United Nations top climate change official wants countries to agree on ways to cut global emissions about twice as fast as promised, then deliver on the promise. An underlying challenge is finding agreement on whether to extend the Kyoto Protocol or replace it. The session will bring some 40,000 visitors, including heads of state, to a city basking in the afterglow of the 2010 World Cup. COP is the governing body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the parent of the Kyoto Protocol.

Durban hosts the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Kyoto Protocol. The United Nations top climate change official wants countries to agree on ways to cut global emissions about twice as fast as promised, then deliver on the promise. An underlying challenge is finding agreement on whether to extend the Kyoto Protocol or replace it. The session will bring some 40,000 visitors, including heads of state, to a city basking in the afterglow of the 2010 World Cup. COP is the governing body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the parent of the Kyoto Protocol. In a UN news release of Mar 1, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres described the agreements made at COP 16 in Cancun in Dec 2010 as the most comprehensive package ever decided by governments to help developing nations deal with climate change. They include a long-term global agreement to keep average global temperatures below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, she noted, but added that the figure falls short of what's needed. The Kyoto Treaty, the first legally binding treaty to cut greenhouse gases blamed for warming the planet, expires in Dec 2012. A Reuters report on 28 Mar notes that uncertainty has been growing over the future of the treaty. Most governments, including those of developing nations, support the extension. Japan, Russia and Canada won't agree to an extension. They want a new treaty that targets all major emitters. The United States never signed the protocol, and is unlikely to sign it under its present Republican administration. The conference will be held in the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre as well as the Durban Exhibition Centre - the biggest convention centre in South Africa. The UNFCCC or FCCC is an international treaty arising from the UN's conference on Environment and Development. The treaty aims to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions to minimize their impact on the earth's climate.

Official COP17 web

UN urges Japan to accept Kyoto extension (Reuters 28 Feb 2010)

UN's top climate change official calls on governments to quickly transform Cancún Agreements into action, provide clarity on future of the Kyoto Protocol (UN news release 1 Mar 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-12-28