Contributing Lawyers

Canada

Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross

Australia

Andrew Hudson



Is Anybody in Canada Watching? - The Meetings in Bonn to Prepare for the Copenhagen Meetings in December 2009 Must Be Monitored Closely

The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Meeting will be held in Copenhagen from December 7 - 18, 2009. The goal of this meeting is to sign an ambitious and effective climate change agreement. It is expected that 192 countries will participate.

Officials from many of the 192 countries met in Bonn, Germany in April 2009 and will meet again in June 2009 to work towards an agreement. The Chair's text should be released soon. The Chair's text will be the first draft of what will eventually become the Copenhagen Agreement and will set out the components for an agreement, based on proposals and ideas put forward by Parties. This document, drawn up by the chair of the negotiations under the UNFCCC track, is intended to give focus to the negotiating process by describing areas of convergence, exploring options for addressing areas of divergence, and identifying gaps that need to be filled before agreement can be reached.

The meetings are taking place under the umbrella of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the UNFCCC). The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty produced at the United nations Conference on Environment and development in June 1992.

The UNFCCC, as originally framed, set no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual nations and contained no enforcement provisions. As a result, it is considered legally non-binding. Rather, the UNFCCC included provisions for updates (called "protocols") that would set mandatory emission limits. The most well known protocol is the Kyoto Protocol, which is more widely recognized that the UNFCCC.

A number of the drafts from the various countries are available on the Internet. Each shed light on what is coming --- and what is coming will be difficult for many businesses. There isn't much time to become engaged in the process and ensure that the footprint for the future is both green in terms of prosperity and the environment.

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