COP stands for the Conference of the Parties, the supreme decision-making body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The parties meet annually towards the end of the year, with the first meeting held in 1995.
COP: Conference of the Parties is the decision-making entity of the UNFCCC
UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an agreement between the 197 nations of the UN that have agreed to "stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system."
CMA: The Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement is the governing body of the Paris Agreement and is a sub-meeting within the COP. The CMA is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Paris Agreement's provisions and conducting global-level negotiations to achieve the goals set out in the Agreement.
CMP: The Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) is the governing body of the Kyoto Protocol. It also occurs within the COP and includes 192 countries. The agreements under the Kyoto Protocol are legally binding, whereas UNFCCC agreements are voluntary.
COP27 is the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC. The COP27 event took place in Egypt from the 6th-20th of November 2022. However, the outcomes have yet to be published; therefore, this blog will focus on the outcomes of COP26, which took place in 2021.
The 28th Conference of the Parties will be held in UAE from the 30th of November to the 12th of December in 2023.
As of 2021, a total of 196 parties (nations) are members of the UNFCCC, the primary framework for international cooperation on climate change. These parties are divided into five regional groups:
The purpose of the Conference of the Parties (COP) is to review the progress made in implementing the objectives of the UNFCCC. It is also a forum for negotiating additional commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change's impacts. The COP also provides a platform for sharing information and experiences, exchanging views, and discussing ways to strengthen the global response to climate change. Each party also submits their country's plans for reducing emissions and their progress from the previous year.
The key outcomes of COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, are:
The key issues discussed at the Conference of the Parties (COP) revolve around climate change and sustainable development. These include adaptation to climate change, mitigation of climate change, the Paris Agreement, technology transfer, capacity building, financing, loss and damage, and how to implement the commitments made in the Agreement. Other topics of discussion include air quality, biodiversity conservation, the sustainable use of resources, the green economy, disaster risk reduction, ocean and coastal management, and sustainable energy.
The Paris Agreement: This Agreement is a legally binding international climate change treaty adopted in 2015. It commits all countries to reduce their emissions and strive to keep global warming to well below 2°C.
The Green Climate Fund: Established at the UNFCCC COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, the GCF provides financial resources to developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Adopted at the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris, the SDGs provide a framework for addressing the needs of both people and the planet by taking into account economic, social, and environmental objectives.
The Kigali Amendment: Adopted at the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris, this amendment to the Montreal Protocol aims to reduce the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases.
Kyoto Protocol: Adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 and entered into force on the 16th of February 2005. The protocol established legally binding targets for industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The financial mechanisms available in the Conference of the Parties to assist in the implementation of the Convention include
The private sector can contribute to the objectives of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in various ways. This can include investing in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies, supporting research and development on climate change solutions, and engaging in public-private partnerships to support the implementation of COP objectives. The private sector can also commit to becoming carbon neutral and meeting climate goals by adopting sustainable practices, such as reducing energy consumption and waste and promoting sustainable and responsible production and consumption. Additionally, the private sector can engage in climate change-related advocacy and education and provide financial support to implement climate action and adaptation initiatives.
The Conference of Parties was an invaluable opportunity to come together, share knowledge, and develop concrete plans to tackle the most pressing global environmental issues. It provides a platform for government and society representatives to share their perspectives and collaborate on solutions. Through this event, we have advanced our understanding of the threats posed by climate change and have identified paths forward and goals to tackle them in the future. We are more united now than ever before in the fight against climate change, and the Conference of Parties was an essential step in the right direction. If you're interested in reading more about COP, be sure to check out the COP26 outcomes for more information.
The Emissions Trading Scheme is New Zealand's key tool for reducing harmful atmospheric gas levels to meet international climate change response goals. Find out how and why.
Learn about carbon sequestration rates under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and their Carbon Credit earning potential, per hectare.
The New Zealand carbon market is a big and relatively new space. This blog will cover the NZ ETS, market functions, carbon credits, and the different participant interactions in the NZ carbon market.