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The Copenhagen Accord is the document that delegates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference agreed to "take note of" at the final plenary session of the Conference on 18 December 2009. The BBC immediately reported that its status and legal implications were unclear.
Advance unedited version
- Decision -/CP.15
- The Conference of the Parties,
- Takes note of the Copenhagen Accord of 18 December 2009.
- Copenhagen Accord
The Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of the following delegations present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen: [List of Parties]
- In pursuit of the ultimate objective of the Convention as stated in its Article 2,
- Being guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention,
- Noting the results of work done by the two Ad hoc Working Groups,
- Endorsing decision x/CP.15 on the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action and decision x/CMP.5 that requests the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments of Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to continue its work,
Have agreed on this Copenhagen Accord which is operational immediately.
- We underline that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. We emphasise our strong political will to urgently combat climate change in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. To achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, we shall, recognizing the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius, on the basis ofequity and in the context of sustainable development, enhance our long-term cooperative action to combat climate change. We recognize the critical impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures on countries particularly vulnerable to its adverse effects and stress the need to establish a comprehensive adaptation programme including international support.
- We agree that deep cuts in global emissions are required according to science, and as documented by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report with a view to reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius, and take action to meet this objective consistent with science and on the basis of equity. We should cooperate in achieving the peaking of global and national emissions as soon as possible, recognizing that the time frame for peaking will be longer in developing countries and bearing in mind that social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries and that a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development.
- Adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and the potential impacts of response measures is a challenge faced by all countries. Enhanced action and international cooperation on adaptation is urgently required to ensure the implementation of the Convention by enabling and supporting the implementation of adaptation actions aimed at reducing vulnerability and building resilience in developing countries, especially in those that are particularly vulnerable, especially least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. We agree that developed countries shall provide adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources, technology and capacity-building to support the implementation of adaptation action in developing countries.
- Annex I Parties commit to implement individually or jointly the quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020, to be submitted in the format given in Appendix I by Annex I Parties to the secretariat by 31 January 2010 for compilation in an INF document. Annex I Parties that are Party to the Kyoto Protocol will thereby further strengthen the emissions reductions initiated by the Kyoto Protocol. Delivery of reductions and financing by developed countries will be measured, reported and verified in accordance with existing and any further guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties, and will ensure that accounting of such targets and finance is rigorous, robust and transparent.
- Non-Annex I Parties to the Convention will implement mitigation actions, including those to be submitted to the secretariat by non-Annex I Parties in the format given in Appendix II by 31 January 2010, for compilation in an INF document, consistent with Article 4.1 and Article 4.7 and in the context of sustainable development. Least developed countries and small island developing States may undertake actions voluntarily and on the basis of support. Mitigation actions subsequently taken and envisaged by Non-Annex I Parties, including national inventory reports, shall be communicated through national communications consistent with Article 12.1(b) every two years on the basis of guidelines to be adopted by the Conference of the Parties. Those mitigation actions in national communications or otherwise communicated to the Secretariat will be added to the list in appendix II. Mitigation actions taken by Non-Annex I Parties will be subject to their domestic measurement, reporting and verification the result of which will be reported through their national communications every two years. Non-Annex I Parties will communicate information on the implementation of their actions through National Communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines that will ensure that national sovereignty is respected. Nationally appropriate mitigation actions seeking international support will be recorded in a registry along with relevant technology, finance and capacity building support. Those actions supported will be added to the list in appendix II. These supported nationally appropriate mitigation actions will be subject to international measurement, reporting and verification in accordance with guidelines adopted by the Conference of the Parties.
- We recognize the crucial role of reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation and the need to enhance removals of greenhouse gas emission by forests and agree on the need to provide positive incentives to such actions through the immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD-plus, to enable the mobilization of financial resources from developed countries.
- We decide to pursue various approaches, including opportunities to use markets, to enhance the cost-effectiveness of, and to promote mitigation actions. Developing countries, especially those with low emitting economies should be provided incentives to continue to develop on a low emission pathway.
- Scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding as well as improved access shall be provided to developing countries, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, to enable and support enhanced action on mitigation, including substantial finance to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD-plus), adaptation, technology development and transfer and capacity-building, for enhanced implementation of the Convention. The collective commitment by developed countries is to provide new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, approaching USD 30 billion for the period 2010 - 2012 with balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation. Funding for adaptation will be prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States and Africa. In the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, developed countries commit to a goal of mobilizing jointly USD 100 billion dollars a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. This funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private, bilateral and multilateral, including alternative sources of finance. New multilateral funding for adaptation will be delivered through effective and efficient fund arrangements, with a governance structure providing for equal representation of developed and developing countries. A significant portion of such funding should flow through the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund.
- To this end, a High Level Panel will be established under the guidance of and accountable to the Conference of the Parties to study the contribution of the potential sources of revenue, including alternative sources of finance, towards meeting this goal.
- We decide that the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund shall be established as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention to support projects, programme, policies and other activities in developing countries related to mitigation including REDD-plus, adaptation, capacity-building, technology development and transfer.
- In order to enhance action on development and transfer of technology we decide to establish a Technology Mechanism to accelerate technology development and transfer in support of action on adaptation and mitigation that will be guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities.
- We call for an assessment of the implementation of this Accord to be completed by 2015, including in light of the Convention's ultimate objective. This would include consideration of strengthening the long-term goal referencing various matters presented by the science, including in relation to temperature rises of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
- Quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020
|Annex I Parties||Quantified economy-wide emissions targets for 2020|
|Emissions reduction in 2020||Base year|
- Nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing country Parties
The Danish Text
At the Conference, a leaked document known as "The Danish Text" started an argument between developed and developing nations. The document was subtitled as "The Copenhagen Agreement", proposes measures to keep average global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Developing countries have reacted over the document saying that the developed countries had worked behind closed doors and made an agreement according to their wish without the consent of the Developing nations. Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, speaker of the G77-group, has said, "It's an incredibly imbalanced text intended to subvert, absolutely and completely, two years of negotiations. It does not recognize the proposals and the voice of developing countries,".  According to the Guardian, an analysis of the document by developing countries lists the following critical issues: 
- Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;
- Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called "the most vulnerable";
- Weaken the UN's role in handling climate finance;
- Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.
Criticisms of the Accord
Major opposition to the accord exists, to the extent that most countries participating at the Copenhagen Summit remain opposed to it and have chosen only to "acknowledge/take note of" it. Some of the key criticisms include:
- The accord is not legally binding.
- The accord sets no real targets to achieve in emissions reductions.
- The accord was only drafted by 5 countries.
- The deadline for assessment of the accord was drafted as 6 years, by 2015.
- The mobilisation of USD &100 billion dollars per year to developing countries will not be fully in place until 2020.
- The accord falsely states that all Heads of State, Heads of Government, Ministers, and other heads of delegation present at the conference, agreed on the accord. It was merely acknowledged by most participants.
It has also been criticised by the head of the G77 as only securing the economic security of a few nations.
- Climate summit recognises US deal, BBC News, 2009-12-19, retrieved 2009-12-19.
- Copenhagen Accord in Wikipedia, accessed 20.12.2009
- Copenhagen Climate Change Agreement, The "Danish Text"
- NGO Copenhagen treaty - narrative (Vol. 1), Narrative
- NGO Copenhagen treaty - legal text (Vol. 2), Legal text
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), September 15, 2009
- Copenhagen Accord, The New York Times