Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Pay Attention to Climate Change Talks - Just Look at the Draft Negotiating Text

Many companies have not been watching the climate change talks under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) because there has been little publicly available information to review. HOWEVER, the draft negotiating text is now available. The negotiators are working towards an agreement on climate change to be signed in December 2009 in Copenhagen. So, we are less than 7 months away from what may become commitments THAT WILL AFFECT BUSINESSES. This is the time to be watching, learning, digesting, commenting, consulting with governments, and preparing for what the future will bring. Companies are in a difficult “caught in the middle��� position because the world cannot afford to do nothing and the action must be affordable to businesses, which are key to implementation.

The head of the UNFCCC, Yvo de Boer said that the negotiating text marked “an important point on our road", that the 53-page document is a “real negotiating text" for discussion, and that the negotiating text could “serve as a basis for governments to start drafting … and agreed outcome".

Some of the more important portions of the negotiating text are as follows:

CO2 Targets - Options

Article 12

The long-term global goal for emission reductions {shall}{should} be set

Option 1

a stabilization of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at {400}{450 or lower}{not more than 450}{450} ppm carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) and a temperature increase limited to 2 oC above the pre-industrial level. For this purpose, the Parties {shall}{should} collectively reduce global emissions by at least 50 per cent {from 1990} levels by 2050.


Option 2

as a stabilization of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere well below 350 ppm CO2 eq and a temperature increase limited to below 1.5 oC above the pre-industrial level. For this purpose, the Parties {shall}{should} collectively reduce global emissions by {81.71}{more than 85} per cent from 1990 levels by 2050.


Option 3

as a global temperature increase limited to 2 oC above the pre-industrial level.

Option 4

as a reduction in global average GHG emissions per capita to about 2 t CO2.


Option 5

on the basis of

Option 5.1

historical responsibility.

Option 5.2

emissions debt.

Option 5.3

per capita accumulative emission convergence.

Option 5.4

an equitable allocation of the global atmospheric resources.


Global Emission Reduction Targets and Baseline Year 1990

Article 14

To this end, {developed country Parties} {Parties included in Annex I to the Convention (Annex I Parties)} {developed country Parties included in Annex II to the Convention (Annex II Parties)}, as a group, {shall}{should} reduce their GHG emissions:

(a) {By at least 25.40}{By 25.40}{By more than 25.40}{In the order of 30}{By at least 40}{by 45}{by at least 45} per cent from 1990 levels by 2020, {with further reductions to be achieved through policies and measures that promote sustainable lifestyles};

(b) {And {by more than 95}{in the range of 75-85} per cent by 2050}.


For more details about the contents of the negotiating text, please go to an article on Larvatus Prodeo.

What the negotiating text informs companies in developing countries is that SIGNIFICANT reductions in CO2 emissions are under discussion. One proposal is at 95% for developed countries. While developing country governments will not sign an agreement in Copenhagen to commit to that goal, the VERY IMPORTANT QUESTION is: What will be the final number?

Companies need to take an active role with their governments in order for their governments to know what they can handle. If this important information is not communicated to the negotiators, the negotiators will not have the information they need for the negotiations.

Canada has a good team in the negotiations. They need Canadian companies to help them do their jobs. As Jerry MacGuire said "Help me Help you".

Leave a Reply

remember my information