Climate Negotiations

Standard Page - 2011-06-04
Greenpeace attends United Nations climate negotiations as a non-government observer. Through lobbying, research and creative actions, we seek to convince negotiators to commit to stronger, more responsible and more just climate agreements.

Greenpeace attends United Nations climate negotiations as a non-government observer. Through lobbying, research and creative actions, we seek to convince negotiators to commit to stronger, more responsible and more just climate agreements.

Greenpeace representatives met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the climate conference in Poznan, Poland in 2008.

The world urgently needs to come to an effective, fair and binding global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Time is running out for us to keep global warming below 2°C (3.6°F), which many scientists warn is the tipping point for disastrous climate change.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

One important forum for nations to reach a global agreement is the United Nations. But it is no simple job getting cooperation and agreement from the 191 member states of the UN – all intent on pursuing their own self-interests and policies – even when the evidence is clearly shows that failing to act would be disastrous for all.

Formed in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is responsible for coordinating the international response to climate change and developing relevant policy mechanisms. Country delegates meet at annual meetings, called Conferences of the Parties (COPs). These meetings are attended by government officials, industry lobbyists, Greenpeace and many other groups.

Most of the Parties are genuinely seeking a way forward, but there are always those with huge vested interests in the continuation of the fossil fuel industry whose main goal is to cripple the convention and generally prevent any true progress on the issue.

The Kyoto Protocol

Taking effect on 16 February 2005, the Kyoto Protocol is the only international agreement with legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It legally bound 35 industrialised countries and the European Union to reduce or limit their greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the Protocol requires a nominal 5 percent reduction in emissions by developed countries world-wide relative to 1990 levels, by 2008-2012. To meet the worldwide target, each country has its own individual target – the European Union 8 percent, Japan 6 percent, etc. These individual targets are derived from past greenhouse gas emissions.

But the Kyoto Protocol is only a first, critical step. To avoid dangerous climate change the world needs at least 30% cuts by industrialized countries by 2020, increasing to 70-80% cuts by mid-century.

Public Engagement and Actions

Our Great Climate Wall campaign helped to draw public attention to climate change and the need to protect the Arctic. This online interactive asked people to build a Great Wall against climate change by uploading their pictures, each of which was a "brick". We turned these images to an actual Great Climate Wall – a mural of images – which we presented to Christiana Figures, the head of the UNFCCC, during the climate talks in Tianjin in October 2010.

Our "Climate Voices" video brings together the grassroots voices of ordinary Chinese citizens, who all express their concern on climate change.

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