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UNFCCC Youth: 3) The Global Climate Treaty

This 3rd presentation takes us through the Global Climate Treaty (AKA the Paris Agreement), and some of the key issues relating the agreement.

on 16 October 2017

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Transcript of UNFCCC Youth: 3) The Global Climate Treaty

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Sometimes called "The Convention". Agreed in 1992.
Bali Action Plan
Article 6
The ratchet mechanism
Gigatonne Gap
Key issues in the Paris Agreement: Mitigation
Capacity Building
1.5C To Stay Alive
G77 (+China)
African Group
Umbrella Group
Gender & Women
UN Security
Indigenous Peoples
Local Governments
Comms WG
Actions WG
Policy WG
BL Team
Interventions WG
Zero Emissions
Green House Gasses (Like CO2)
The UNFCCC does this through agreeing 26 "Articles" (Art#) which establishes:
- Setting out definitions (Art1), Objectives (Art2) and Principles (Art3)
- That Parties (countries) will attempt to reduce their GHGs (Art4), research Climate Change (Art5),
educate train and raise public awareness (Art6),
- How countries will negotiate and agree on things (Art7, 13-26)
- Sets up permanent bodies of the UNFCCC the SBSTA (Art9) and SBI (Art10),
- Sets up a Secretariat (Art8) to facilitate things, a financial mechanism (Art11) and communication channels (Art12)
Subsidiary Body for Implementation (Art10)
Parties negotiate in this Body to work towards delivering
the Articles and agreements of the original UNFCCC convention
and subsequent decisions.
"Annex" is tagged on the end of the Convention and lists countries in different categories. You will often hear the phrase "The Annex I countries must do this", or "Because X is a Non-Annex I country, they have a lot to gain from Y"
Annex I = Industrialised Countries in 1992 (i.e. Western World + post-Soviet countries)
Annex II = Annex I countries who should provide finance (i.e. Western World)
Annex B = Annex I countries who agreed to reduce emissions in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997
Non-Annex I = "Developing" Countries in 1992
Want a closer look?
Young people should have a voice in the discussions
at the UN climate negotiations. But are 2-minute
speeches and approved actions enough?
This is a key issue for young people, and a group of
dedicated youth spend their time working with other
civil society groups to lobby on this SBI issue.
Article 6 is about Education for Sustainable Development, Participation in countries' decisions, Training and Public Awareness. Young people have a big stake in the Article 6 negotiations.
Last year in Bonn we helped change the rules for how suggestions are put forward for Article 6: Countries agreed to pay for workshops in Africa and Small Islands to gather input and also consider the input of youth.
Following this in Cancun young people achieved a big policy win. Through policy statements, tireless lobbying and direct pressure they secured a whole page of UN policy changes (out of 3 pages!) that became UN decisions.
The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice meets in parallel to SBI. They try not to get involved in political discussion, but instead talk about scientific reports and clarify things for the negotiators. SBSTA is sometimes used to set guidelines for things like reporting for emissions reductions.
Sebastien Duyck from France makes a statement in Cancun on behalf of (nearly) all civil society groups- suggesting some practical ways to move forward on access.
Severn Suzuki from Canada delivers a speech that makes the UN stop and listen to youth
Emma Moon from New Zealand tells SBSTA they need to define the difference between "forest" and "plantation"
Conference of the Parties
"Parties" basically translates as "Countries". The COP usually only meets once a year in November/December, and is a chance for Government Ministers to get together and vote on things their negotiators have been preparing all year. The COP is the only body that can pass anything that is binding, whether that be binding under the original Convention or any other protocol. If other bodies make a decision, it must be passed onto a COP. Warsaw will be the 19th COP since 1992, so it's called "COP19".
COP Decisions
The Ad-Hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate
The Berlin Mandate set out a path for countries to agree a binding climate treaty within 2 years. The AGBM was a set of negotiations tasked with doing this, and it's work ceased in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was decided
Kyoto Protocol
Named after the city where it was decided at COP3, the Kyoto Protocol COMMITTED countries to reducing GHGs (instead of the Convention encouraging them to).
Parties who signed up to KP set their own reduction targets and then have to reduce their emissions through National strategies and "flexible mechanisms" like trading emissions.
I <3 KP
Marrakesh Accords
These were decided in 2001 and clarify the rules of the KP
Conference of the Meeting of Parties
This negotiating body is made up of ministers like the COP, but only has a mandate to make decisions about the Kyoto Protocol. They meet at the same time as COPs, so meetings are usually called "COP17/CMP7".
Adhoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol
This negotiating body was set up to discuss the KP. They worked throughout the year to come to agreements to suggest to the CMP and COP. Like LCA it ended in Doha at COP18.
LULUCF Logging Loopholes
Flexible Mechanisms
The KP commits Annex I countries to reducing emissions. It lets them do this through actual reductions but also through market-based mechanisms.
Emissions Trading Scheme
A central authority (e.g. a government/the EU) sets a limit (cap)
to the amount of carbon allowed, then companies are allowed
to trade "carbon credits" under this cap.
Clean Development Mechanism
Allows countries who emmit a lot of GHGs to offset this by investing in clean energy projects in developing countries
Joint Implementation
Allows industrialised countries to carry out emission-reduction projects in another industrialised country and count it as their own reduction in emissions
The Cancun Agreements
The Copenhagen Accord
Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Objectives
= the Annex I commitments to reduce their GHGs
Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry
One of the hardest acronyms to remember!
This means that Annex I countries can use any changes is land use to reduce their emissions. e.g. they could plant a forest, or protect a forest. This only applies to Annex I forests! However this is full of loopholes...
So richer countries want to create loopholes in LULUCF to hide about 400 miilion tonnes of their emissions in. This would lead to major deviation from emissions targets. We need richer countries to account for all of their emissions. Watch the videos to see how young people have campaigned on this difficult issue.
Danny Hutley from the UK reports on the Youth action "Welcome to Loophole Land" in Bonn 2010
The Second Commitment Period to the Kyoto Protocol
The First KP Commitment Period runs from 2008-2012. It was expected that countries would fulfil their obligations and commit emissions reduction targets for a second commitment period from 2012. However Japan, Russia, Canada and others want to kill the KP.
KP may not be perfect, but it's all we've got: it's the worlds only binding climate treaty and the only thing there to protect our future. If countries kill the KP beyond 2012 by not signing up to a second commitment period, then this is bad news.
It may not be perfect, but we love the KP and we think Parties should love the KP too. But true love needs commitment: and young people are pushing for Parties to show that commitment this year.
Anna from Italy asks the chair of the AWG-KP (John) to marry her in a suprise speach to the UN in Bonn 2010
Young people hold a wedding of Annex I Parties to the KP in Bonn 2010
Conference of the Whole
Yes, it actually existed once.
I'm not lying

Here is a picture of a cow
COP Decisions are written like this: 1/CP.1 means the first decision taken at COP1. e.g:
1/CP.1 is the Berlin Mandate
1/CP.13 is the Bali Action Plan
1/CP.16 is the Cancun Agreements
2/CP.17 is the decision adopted in Durban at COP17
Under the REDD Carpet?
Fair Finance?
World Bank- Hands off!
Youth in the Text
Our Future Capacity
Tech TransFAIR?
At COP15 2009, when countries failed to come to an agreement, the USA, along with other countries, put forward this accord.As the Accord was not supported unanimously, the Copenhagen COP simply ‘noted’ its existence, rather than passing it. It promises money to developing countries but does not bind developed countries to emissions targets and lets them choose their own. Although very unpopular and not adopted by the UNFCCC, the Copenhagen Accord received 140 signatures. It was later revealed that many of the developing country signatories were pressured into signing the Accord in order to get fast money from the USA.
The USA continues to push for an agreement like the Copenhagen Accord, and the Cancun agreements largely delivered on that.
At COP16 in 2010, all countries came to an agreement except Bolivia. However the chair passed the decision anyway as the Cancun Agreements. The Cancun agreements make some small progress in all areas of the LCA, but lack detail and do not address reducing emissions.
After Cancun, the UKYCC team attempted to explain the negotiations using handpuppets. The video went viral with over 11,000 hits; even the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Christina Figueres called it "too fabulous"
At COP13 in Bali, delegates agreed on a "Road Map" that would take them to a global binding climate treaty to replace the KP. They decided that any new deal must tackle: A Shared Vision, Mitigation, Developing Country Forests, Adaptation, Technology Transfer, Capacity Building and Finance.
This would all be negotiated under the name LCA, "Long-term Coorporative Action". LCA ended at COP18 3 years overdue.
Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooporative Action
This group meet throughout the year and at COPs to discuss a range of issues such as: mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer, shared vision, finance and capacity building. Some of these areas moved to different parts of the talks and some closed. LCA ended in Doha at COP18 in 2012.
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degredation
This policy area looks at reducing emissions by protecting Non-Annex I forests (i.e. developing country forests). It proposes Market mechanisms to do this, where developing countries are rewarded with funds when they protect their forests.
REDD+ builds on REDD. As well as protecting forests, it also allows for Forest conservation, sustainable forest management and planting new forests as a means of reducing emissions. The same market mechanisms apply.
The main people pushing a deal on REDD+ are richer countries, the World Bank and Big Business. There is a lot of potential financial gain out of REDD+. But where does that leave the Indigenous People who live in the forests? Will their homes be sold to the highest bidder in "sustainable management schemes"? REDD+ is very controversial and angers many Indigenous people and young people
A report from the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo looks at the potential gains and threats of a REDD+ shceme in their area
Nairobi Work Programme
This programme aims to use SBSTA to advise governments (especially developing country governments) on the impact, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. It then gives them advice on the best way to approach climate change policies in their own countries.
This area of negotiations looks at how communities (local, national and international) cope with and adapt to climate impacts. Adaptation is absolutely vital. It is generally not acknowledged enough in the talks but as the Paris Agreement will carry us into an era with rapidly increasing climate impacts it is more important than ever. Reforms and finance are essential for communities to cope with a warming world.
National Adaptation Programme of Action
NAPAs are plans to support Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to identify priorities to adapt to climate change. They look at current grass-roots actions and build on them to produce regional and national policies. They also create financeable projects for the international community to fund. As well as NAPAs, there are also...
There will need to be a large transfer of money from developed to developing countries to fund adaptation and mitigation efforts. In this group, negotiators focus on how much is needed, where it comes from and whether it should be in loans, aid or investment in business.
The Global Environment Facility
This is where most of the global climate money travels through. It was founded as part of the World Bank, became seperate in 1994, but the World Bank reamins it's trustee. Although developing countries get more of a say in it than the World Bank, it has been accused of mainly financing climate projects that benefit rich countries who are it's main donors.
The Green Climate Fund, agreed at COP16 in Cancun aims to provide $100bn funding to developing countries by 2020. It is run seperately from the World Bank by a committee of 25 developing countries vs. 15 developed countries. However the World Bank remains it's trustee.
The Special Climate Change Fund was set up in 2001 and started work in 2004. It was meant to be reviewed in 2009 but not one country bothered to submit it's views on the SCCF. So nobody is certain of its future.
The Least Developed Countries Fund is controlled by the GEF and provides money to developing countries to fund their NAPAs
Adaptation Fund. 2% of CDM (Clean Development Mechanism, see "flexible mechanisms" under Kyoto Protcol) profits go into this fund.
It's all very well giving money out to poorer countries- but we can't let rich countries just buy their way out of responsibility. There is also a danger that richer countries will give out loans and increase the debt of poorer countries. Lastly, in 2010 many innovative ways for reaching $100bn per year by 2020 were outlined by a committee chaired by UN Seccretary General Ban Ki Moon. However these have been largely ignored so far. Poor Ban...
Young people warn negotiators in Bonn 2010 not to fall into the trap of giving out loans
The World Bank is a controversial Trustee of many of these Funds. It has a very bad history of lending lots of money to big pollutors and giving developing countries no say in its governance. Some people argue it's the only institution with the capacity to handle big sums of money, but the Green Climate Fund has shown it's possible to do things another way. Many people want the World Bank out of climate finance fullstop, not as a trustee, not as an owner, and no seat at the table.
Protestors from the Philippines and Indonesia urge the World Bank to keep its hands off
The Technology Transfer strand of LCA looks at how everyone can most benefit from the development of new renewable technologies. At the moment most technologies are developed in richer countries and then poorer countries have to pay high prices on patented products to use them. Cancun established a Tech Transfer board to look into these isues, but richer countries refused to negotiate on patents.
Without even discussing patents, are countries missing a big opportunity for creating a world powered by renewables? Youth educational exchanges or partnerships could also be key for sharing knowledge and technologies between Annex 1 and non-Annex I parties. Are there ways that University students can pressure Universities to make their climate innovations accessible to all?
This is an area of the LCA negotiations we need to keep our eyes on. This means that negotiators will look at the economic impacts of countries reducing their carbon. Some oil-exporting countries even want large amounts of compensation for reducing their carbon!
Economic and Social Consequences of Response Measures
Capacity Building refers to the need to ensure that all countries have the skills, training and structures in place to be able to mitigate their emissions and adapt to the consequences of climate change.
Capacity Building is really important for young people as it involves our training, our education, and the support young people get around the world to tackle climate change at a local level. We can use strong decisions on capactiy building to make cases to our governments and local instutitions. We can also tackle the injustice of lack of support for developing countries.
The Capacity Building text started as a very good set of proposals and ideas for putting real effort into helping poorer countries. But during Cancun it was dramatically cut down, with many of the good ideas taken out. This included the reference to need to include young people in Capacity Building. If they are not building the capacity of young people, then where will we be in 20 years time?
'Mitigation' refers to country's emissions reductions. This area has seen frustratingly slow progress in the last few years, with unmet pledges and voluntary targets. This issue was discussed and debated heavily in the run-up to Paris. Some of the main issues were: the types of mitigation pledges countries will make (their 'INDCs'); how to increase mitigation pledges over time so that they match what science says we need to do to avoid run away climate change (the 'ratchet mechanism'); and the 'long-term goal' that countries are ultimately aiming for.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. These are the mitigation targets submitted by each country to COP21. Some INDCs also included adaptation pledges. Following the Paris Agreement, Parties must now submit 'NDCs' by 2020.
Measurable, Reportable and Verifiable. Parties have agreed to submit national reports on their implementation of mitigation measures to monitor progress; MRV is the process that governs this. Some countries (especially the UK and the US) wanted all countries' targets to be quantified and checked out independently. Others (like China) were less happy about people accessing their accounting figures.

The 'Gigatonne Gap' (as it is sometimes known) is the gap between the emissions reductions proposed by Parties and what science tells us is required to prevent dangerous climate change. If all countries deliver their current INDC pledges, it's likely we'll be looking at a 3-3.5C temperature rise by 2100, yet the science says we should try to keep it to 1.5C (note - 1.5C is also the temperature target that was agreed in the Paris deal). The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that there is an up to 12 gigatonne gap between current policies and what actually needs to be delivered to limit global temperatures rises to 2C or lower.
In the run up to Paris, civil society, youth, some countries and lots of other institutions began talking about the inevitability of ultimately needing to reach zero emissions. For example, to limit warming to 1.5C, science suggests we need to reach net zero by 2050. This means the end of the fossil fuel era. However, there are concerns around how this will be achieved - for example by mass plantation of forests or bioenergy crops on land which is currently used for food, human habitation or important natural ecosystems. This will be a key issue moving forward beyond the Paris talks.
The 'long-term goal' enshrined in the Paris Agreement is to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5C (rather than the 2C target which was agreed at COP15 in Copenhagen). The difference between a maximum 2C rise and 1.5C rise is not a small thing. It means the difference between small islands surviving or going underwater - which is why climate campaigners call for '1.5 to stay alive'. 1.5C is the 'safe' target recommended by many climate scientists , and it's the target that young people need to protect our future.
Young people in Cancun were forcibly removed from the negotiations for counting the number of climate deaths in 2010 whilst pleading with negotiators to adopt a 1.5C goal.
Executive Secretary
The UNFCCC Secretariat work for the UN to carry out the decisions made by the COP. They can only do things that are mandated to them by all Parties. So they cannot write text or have an influence on the text. However they are good sources of in-depth knowledge on policy. They liaise with "Focal Points" from each Constituency to approve actions and help us where possible.
The Executive Secretary is the leader of the Secretariat. Like the Secretariat they do not take a political position within the negotiations. However they have a big influence on process and outcomes by suggesting solutions, encouraging constructive debate and framing the negotiations. The current Executive Secretary is Christiana Figueres from Costa Rica.
Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres talks to young people from the "Adopt a Negotiator" project. In this video she sits down to relax with the youth and talk frankly and very openly about her passion, her inspiration and her expectations for the process.
UN Security are tasked with securing UN venues for negotiators and also for civil society. The Secretariat protects the right for young people to take action during UNFCCC meetings. However these must be approved by the Secretariat in advance.
Negotiators wear pink badges at the COP. You can talk to them in corridors (as long as you don't harrass them) or you can arrange meetings with them. Negotiators will often come in teams so be aware that the negotiator you are approaching may not know about the issue you want to lobby on!
Countries often negotiate as part of groups...
Mountains Group(s)
Pronouned "Juice-Cans", this was a temporary alliance of Japan, USA, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Norway, New Zealand, Iceland and Lichtenstein. They didn't stay together long but you never know when they might pop up again.
JUSSCANNZ evolved into the Umbrella group. This is the loosest coalition of countries at the UNFCCC. They are non-EU developed countries who try to strategise together- but usually talk separately anyway. As they often don't get the support of everyone in their group, they will usually clarify at the start of their statement exactly which countries they are speaking for.
The European Union not only take a common negotiating position (with it's President member state taking the floor), they are also the only group of countries to submit joint emissions reduction targets and have their own nameplate at the UNFCCC. They have coordinating meetings every morning. Poland has their presidency until June 2012.
The Group of 77 has now evolved to a group of 131 of the world's "poorer" countries. It often takes a lot of time and effort for them to come to a common strategic position, but they fact that they achieve it at all is remarkable. The G77 appoints lead countries "Chairs" for each issue and has an overall Chair. In 2011 this is Argentina, which will be a very important country to focus on. China often joins the G77 in their statements and attends all of their meetings, but is not part of the G77, hence statements are made as "G77" or "G77 + China".
The Organisation of Petroleum-Exporting Countries includes Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Iran, Qatar, Libya, Kuwait and others. They exist to protect the economic interests of their petroleum.
Least Developed Countries are objectively defined by the UN based on poor economy, low human assets and high economic vulnerability. They include 33 African countries, 10 Asian, 1 Caribbean and 5 Pacific countries.
The African Group is a sub-grouping of the G77, countries based on the continent of Africa. For example, Malawi is
both a member of the African Group and of the G77.
Small Island Developing States are defined by the UN based on geographic and economic criteria. They must be full member states of the UN unlike AOSIS...
Alliance of Small Island States. This is the political lobbying grouping of SIDS plus 5 other small Island "Observers" without UN country status. They often take strong moral stances and put forward proposals in line with the science
Central Asian Caucus and Maldova. These include Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan etc. They don't often group together, only at times where the definition of "Developing country" or "Economy in Transition" is being defined.
Alliance Bolivarian of the Americas. These are South American left-wing countries of Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua. They support the outcomes of the People's Agreement at the Cochabamba Conference in 2010. They often group together to make moral and anti-market stands in the negotiations. Venezuela is unusual in being part of ALBA and OPEC- which gives them a slightly bipolar quality in the talks. In Cancun, Bolivia stood alone in rejecting the Cancun agreements and many people wondered whether ALBA had abandoned them, however Bolivia claim to be building a broader alliance and ALBA was back in force in the Bangkok intersessionals of 2011
Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries. This is more of an official UN regional grouping which includes Central and South America and the Caribbean.
The Environmental Integrity Group. An unusual grouping of Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland (sometimes Lichtenstein and Monaco). It is the only group that brings Annex I and non-Annex I countries together to make proposals. They like to think they propose practical solutions
In 2010 Nepal announced it was thinking of bringing together countries with Mountains into a negotiating group. However Armenia, Kyrgistan and Tajikistan jumped the gun and formed their own group called "Group of Mountain Landlocked Developing Countries". Nepal didn't join them at first and tried to establish it's own group of mountainous countries.
Jonathan Pershing, the lead US negotiator
Konihiko Shimada, Japan
Clare Walsh and Louise Hand, Australia
UK Lead negotiator Peter Betts takes the mic from the EU Belgian presidency to tell the UN "This is magnificent, but it is not negotiation."
Mexican chief negotiator Luis d'Alba
Xie Zhenhua, negotiator for China
Negotiators from the G77 group align their strategy before a G77 coordinating meeting
Claudia Salerno, Venezuela
Tosi Mpanu Mpanu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Yaw Opong Boadi, Ghana
Thilmeeza Hussein, Minister and Negotiator for the Maldives
Ian Fry, Tuvalu, tells participants not willing to sign up to KP2 to "quietly and politely leave the room"
Pablo Salon, Bolivia, is one of the most outspoken negotiators. He was the only one not to agree to the Cancun agreements.
BASIC group
Luiz A. Figueiredo, Brazil
Brazil, South Africa, India and China. This is a group of very powerful, fast-growing economies. Being non-Annex I countries but holding a lot of economic weight between them, they have the potential to bridge the negotiations providing a breakthrough. It is going to be interesting at COP17 in South Africa to see if this group becomes a strong political force for the Global South.
Alf Wills, South Africa
Intergovernmental Organisations
These are big UN bodies, or other international organisations that are not NGOs (non-governmental organisations).
United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Scientists who procude reports on Climate Change)
World Health Organisation
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
International Maritime Organisation (Ships)
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Development Programme
Constituencies are groups of Observers who are permitted to attend UN meetings, receive updates and support from the Secretariat, make submissions and intervene in UN meetings.
Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations
Trade Unions
Research & Independent NGOs
Climate Action Network. This is a group of 550 international NGOs who closely track the negotiatons, make policy statements, coordinate communications and select countries to receive a "Fossil of the Day". They split their ENGO priveledges equally with CJN!, including only taking 1 minute of the ENGO 2 minute speach.
Global Campaign for Climate Action (known as tcktcktck) is an alliance of NGOs who focus on campaigning within and outside of the UNFCCC to build a global climate movemnet. They focus on communications, actions and also run the "Adopt a Negotiator" tracker scheme
Climate Jusitce Now! are the second half of the ENGO constituency. They are made up of more left-wing NGOs and have 1 minute of the 2 minute ENGO speeches.
Once CAN has voted on the most strategic countries to award Fossil of the Day award, Young people get the job of presenting the prizes.
"ECO" is a daily newsletter published by CAN giving a roundup of the latest events and gossip from the negotiators. It also suggests constructive ways forward and shames most obstructive countries. The newsletter has become an influential favourite amongst negotiators who often carry one around as essential reading.
GCCA identified Japan as a key target in Cancun for announcing they were not going to commit to KP2. It attempted to embarrass them by taking out full-page adverts in global newspapers.
Youth Non-Governmental Organisations
Focal Points
Conference of Youth
This usually happens the weekend before the start of negotiations. It's a great opportunity for YOUNGO to come together to meet, share skills, create strategy and have fun.
AYCC (Australian Youth Climate Coalition) report from COY6 in Cancun 2010.
This is a whole day during the negotiations where there are events, talks and actions drawing attention to future generations.
Young and Future Generations Day
Youth outside the negotiations in Cancun prepare an official video for YoFuGe.
Spokescouncil is the official decision-making body of YOUNGO. It is named after the spokes on a bicycle wheel. If you want to speak or have an action on behalf of YOUNGO it goes through this. A representative from each organisation a "spoke" sits in a circle and the members of that organisation sit behind them and feed their ideas into the centre. Voting takes place using "waving hands" and everyone in the spoke must agree in order to achieve consensus.
The Bottom-Linining Team is a group of volunteers in YOUNGO who make sure things are happening. They do not have any powers to make decisions for YOUNGO but keep up with deadlines, run elections and ensure fairness.
There are 2 YOUNGO Focal Points each year. This is one person from the Global North and one person from the Global South. Their job is to liaise with the UNFCCC Secretariat on YOUNGO issues.
Policy Working Group
The YOUNGO Policy Working Group coordinates between several Policy and Advocacy groups within YOUNGO. There are Policy WGs on Forests, Article 6, Access, 1.5C, Tech Transfer, Capacity Building, Finance and more.
The Communication's Working Group coordinates YOUNGO efforts to produce press releases, blogs and talk to the media targetting the negotiations and people back home. They also put on press conferences, create a buzz around key policy issues and put pressure on negotiations at strategic points.
YOUNGO can make 2-minute speeches during negotiations at particular points where it is allowed by the chair. These require input from Policy and Communications and Intervention WGs to get a speech that tackles relevant policy but also conveys the moral voice we can bring to the negotiations.
The Actions Working Group respond to policies with strategic actions, that put pressure on negotiations at key moments, or draw the eyes of the world's media. They plan action messaging, logistics, make artistic and creative props and bring it all together for a powerful message.
Welcome to this Module on the UN Climate Negotiations. This is best viewed in full-screen (click on icon on bottom right). You can use the arrows at the bottom to navigate your way through...
You can also zoom in & out and drag the screen around to see how everything is linked. Move your mouse to the right of the screen to bring up a zoom control. You can go at your own pace and go backwards to reread things. Looking at the UN talks as a big diagram, with of lots of arrows and associations, can help relate every little policy detail to the big picture!
The UN Climate Negotiations aren't all about minute policy details. But it's important to know a bit of policy structure so you can understand where young people must make a stand to protect our future. The International Youth Climate Movement will not stay quiet and watch whilst decisions are made - we make speeches, lobby, talk to the media and protest to ensure our voice is heard. In these prezis, I've added issues that are important for young people, with videos and pictures of the inspiring actions youth have taken. I've also tried to cover what happened in recent UN Climate talks and what the key issues may be in Warsaw, at the next talks. Hopefully you find this equally informative and inspiring.
By the end of this, the aim is for you to understand this:
And use this knowledge to change things!
There are 5 Modules that we will cover:
1) The Convention: an Introduction
2) The Story So Far
3) A Global Climate Treaty
4) Cooperation and Contention
5) YOUNGO and Friends!
Before we start, make a cup of tea, and turn on your headphones!
Module 1: The Convention- a Foundation
We'll start with the UNFCCC, take you through the first agreement, the first youth involvement, the basic structure and throw in some examples of great youth engagement with the process. Enjoy!
Module 2: The Story So Far
We'll look at how the UN Climate Talks started and pick out some key moments since the first COP. And of course we will see some legendary youth actions.
Module 3: A Global Climate Treaty
Since the UNFCCC was founded, countries have been working towards a global climate treaty. This was finally agreed in Paris in 2015 at COP21. This module looks at the Paris Agreement and some key issues affecting it.
Module 4: Cooporation and Contention
This module introduces some terms that are important in the UNFCCC, Finance and some of the stumbling points to an ambitious deal and the way young people are putting pressure on the key issues...
5) Friends & Foes
Now we've learnt all of the UNFCCC policies, let's think about the personalities, groups and their influence in the process. We'll start with the Secretariat and end with your very own Youth Constituency.
6) Explore on your own.
I'd recommend doing this if you've already been through the modules and you know your way round. It's good for reminding yourself of how everything relates. Go wild!
We're done! And here's what you can look forward to next time...
By UKYCC and friends, over the years - email us questions!

Thanks to everyone who made the movies and pictures and thanks to the International Youth Climate Movement for making the change happen!
End of module 3. We hope you found it useful!
Coming up next...

Module 4: Cooperation and Contention
This module goes into more detail on areas of cooperation and contention, over the history of the UNFCCC and during the negotiations of the Paris Agreement. We will look at some of the stumbling points to agreeing an ambitious global deal and the way young people have put pressure on the key issues...
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This cool video summarizes some of the key incidents from Cancun at COP16. Like always at the UNFCCC things are rarely straight forward. Bolivia and some other countries refused to sign the Cancun Accord which meant that consensus was not reached. This annoyed some people at the talks who wanted an agreement to be reached. Other people at the talks supported Bolivia because they felt the agreement was too weak. This is a balance between finding consensus, meaningful emissions reductions and progress that features often in UN climate change talks.
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“The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention,
stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”
It is useful to remember what UNFCCC is tasked with achieving…
There are currently 3 different areas of the talks and are often called ‘tracts’ of the talks. We will look at two that are constant in UNFCCC. This means that unlike other tracts they are always present. We will look at some tracts that have come and gone in the coming prezis.
Loss and Damage
Loss and Damage is supposed to be a way of compensating the poorest countries for the disastrous effects of climate change that they are already experiencing. More efforts are still needed in this area to support nations who are seeing the worst climate impacts.
A Global Climate Treaty
Youth in Doha pushed for a strong Loss and Damage package. Many were left disappointed with the weak outcome.
Disasters like the Typhoon in The Philippines, that occurred during COP18, are becoming more and more frequent due to climate change and they affect most vulnerable nations who are least responsible for climate change.
The Story So Far...
1995 COP1 - Berlin
1996 COP2 - Geneva
1997 COP3 - Kyoto
1998 COP4 - Buenos Aires
1999 - COP5 - Bonn
2000 - COP6 - The Hague
2001 - COP7 Marrakesh
2002 - COP8 - New Delhi
2003 - COP9 - Milan
2004 - COP10 - Buenos Aires
2005 - COP11 - Montreal
2006 - COP12 - Nairobi
2007 - COP13 - Bali
2008 - COP14 - Poznan
2009 - COP15 - Copenhagen
2010 - COP16 - Cancun
2011 - COP17 - Durban
2012 - COP18 Doha


– 1992
At the Earth Summit in Rio countries recognised climate change as a global threat and something that required a global solution. This led to countries setting up the UNFCCC to address climate change and ‘stabilise greenhouse gases’.”
The first COP was held in Berlin in 1995. This prezi will look at some of the key moments of COPs over the years.
This area of the module will look at key points of the UNFCCC and some things that have been decided at past COPs. It will not cover all of the COPs even though each COP contains important decisions, instead a few key decisions will be highlighted. The main stories of the past meetings will be selected to see where we are and how we got here.
1997 Kyoto Protocol
A landmark in international climate negotiations was agreed in 1997 with the Kyoto Protocol. For the first time ever it was agreed that countries would take ‘legally binding’ emissions reductions. All Annex1 (developed) nations signed up to this. Even the USA!
…however, they later changed their mind and withdrew…
Finally the Kyoto Protocol was ratified. This means that all of the countries who signed up to the protocol had it agreed by their own governments at a national level.
This was the first year that young people started to attend the UNFCCC. But they were not organised into constituency so had no official presence (more on this later in prezi 5).
Nairobi Work Programme
This programme aims to use SBSTA to advise governments (especially developing country governments) on the impact, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. It then gives them advice on the best way to approach climate change policies in their own countries.
In 2009 the COP took place in Copenhagen. This attracted huge media attention as a huge Civil Society presence occurred, world leaders attended and the need for climate action become even more apparent.
It ended in disappointment as no real progress was made and promises were broken.
COP15 Copenhagen
COP17 Durban
This was a significant COP for the future direction of talks. A second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol was agreed as was a Global Climate Treaty (which will be discussed in more detail in the next prezi). Durban was one of the most significant COPs in terms of how future international climate talks will be shaped
COP18 Doha
Thanks to SustainUS for the use of this image
2005 - COP11 - Montreal
Durban in 2 minutes...
In Durban at COP17, youth at UNFCCC were vital in creating urgency around the matters that matter.
Civil Society held an unprecedented protest in the final days of talks in Durban in anger at slow progress and nations not listening to the people.
Some great YOUNGO interventions also took place.
Youth Action
In the last hours of COP17 this was agreed after a stand-off with some nations including USA and India.

A deal was agreed for a treaty with 'legal force' to be negotiated by 2015 and to start in 2020 but there are still many things to be finalised such as targets.

One of the issues that led to the delay in this area was the area of equity, which we will talk about shortly.
As the Kyoto Protocol only covers Annex 1 nations (though some didn't sign up) there was a feeling from some that a future treaty that would cover a wider range of nations.

A treaty that was binding and including all the large emitters was hoped for. In the last hours of COP17 this was agreed after a stand-off with some nations including USA and India.

It was controversial as many nations (and people) feel the developed, rich nations never kept their promises for mitigation or finance but then wanted the developing, poorer nations to sing up to a global deal (more on this later...)
2020 Treaty
There was an agreement to start a new commitment period to KP in Durban. It was agreed to start in 2013
With Kyoto Protocol’s commitment coming to an end in 2012, COP17 was the chance to ‘save Kyoto’
Civil society and many nations demanded an extension to binding emissions reductions
Kyoto Protocol 2nd Commitment Period
We know Kyoto was not perfect but it was the only binding deal that held nations accountable. The youth put a lot of energy and effort into supporting a new KP.
There is a danger that some negotiating teams who are happy to see progress stall will use the equity discussion as a means of doing so.
If the equity gap discussion turns into a theoretical one rather than something to really see progress.

Equity has now taken a central role in the talks and this can be seen as both an opportunity and a threat.
Equity – Opportunity and Threat
Equity is all about each nation feeling they are taking actions appropriate to their responsibilities for emissions reductions.
So it is not a new concept as “common but differentiated responsibilities" (CBDR) has been a feature of talks since the inception of UNFCCC.
Holding this discussion can allow a space for nations to be open and come to agreement on how carbon reductions can be shared in a fair manner.
If this 'equity gap' can be addressed it could be a significant breakthrough in climate negotiations and restore faith to the talks.
Opportunity that Equity presents
As we found out at the end of COP17 in Durban, equity is going to be a defining point of future negotiations.

It has always been involved in UFCCC talks but now it is explicit and a space has been created for a ‘frank and open’ discussion on the issue.
Equity – what does it mean and why is it being discussed?
The work to reduce or remove fossil fuels is important and ties into previous YOUNGO efforts to call out the unfair influence big corporations and their lobbyists have over some nations at the UNFCCC talks.
A youth action on creating a clean, just future.
Another really important area that civil society want to see discussed, and progress, perhaps under ADP is fossil fuel subsidies. This was a key talking point for civil society in the Rio+20 Earth Summit in 2012. Industries like the oil industry are the most profitable in the world so many people don’t think we should be giving them so much money in the form of subsidies especially as their actions are largely the cause of climate change in the first place.
2020 Treaty
Great youth involvement
and actions
Hundreds of Youth at COP17 protest inside the UN.
The ADP was established in 2011 to develop the 2020 global climate treaty (AKA - The Paris Agreement). The ADP was split into two main areas: Workstream 1 (WS1) and Workstream 2 (WS2).
TEC - Technology Executive Committee - Aims to "consider and recommend actions to promote technology development and transfer in order to accelerate action on mitigation and adaptation".
CTCN - Climate Technology Centre and Network - An operational arm of TEC. An advisory board to the CTCN meets to discuss technologies to aid adaptation and mitigation action.
Technology is needed for both mitigation and adaptation for some countries.
In Durban at COP17 it was agreed "
to launch a process to develop a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force under the Convention
" i.e. a new global agreement on how to tackle climate change. Countries decided this would be agreed by no later than 2015, at COP21, and come into force in 2020. The deal would require all countries party to the UNFCCC (not just Annex 1 states i.e. the most economically developed countries) to agree on a way of tackling climate change and to participate in its implementation. Let’s take a look at the big issues affecting the development of this deal...
Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action
Workstream 1
concentrated on a range of issues including the 'architecture' of the global climate treaty. In other words: the design and rules of the deal. This is important because it determines how countries will manage climate change in the years to come - how will they increase ambition over time? Will the deal be legally binding? How will countries measure, review and verify (MRV) emissions reductions? These are all important issues that had to be negotiated in Workstream 1.
Short term ambition
In the ADP, 'short-term ambition' refers to mitigation or emissions reductions that are being pledged before 2020. It is also called pre-2020 ambition. In other words, getting on with it and not just waiting until the Paris Agreement begins in 2020 to take action!

Suggested ways to increase short term mitigation have been: enhanced mitigation pledges, more pledges from more countries, addressing barriers to higher ambition like lack of investment or technology transfer,
and removing fossil fuel subsidies (FFS).
Workstream 2
concentrated on ways to close the 'emissions gap' before 2020 (when the Paris Agreement will come into force). They also focused on shifting investment patterns, attracting climate-friendly investments and technology development and transfer (i.e. transferring low carbon skills and technologies from developed to developing countries).
It is important to know the context of the Global Climate Treaty being agreed in Paris. Not all countries were happy about this, India especially felt it was a way for some rich developed countries to start to shift the blame and responsibility for climate change onto the developing world. Other countries, both developed and developing nations, felt it was important for everyone to be bound by the same agreement (unlike Kyoto), although with differentiated responsibilities, to effectively combat climate change.
The talks have struggled and often seen a lack of good faith and a breakdown of trust between parties. Many countries feel let down by the lack of finance provided by developed countries seen as more responsible for climate change and most able to provide financial and technical assistance to others.
Common But Differentiated Responsibilities

The principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities” (CBDR- RC), also referred to as 'differentiation', is an area of particular disagreement in the talks. At its core the principle means that; although all states face the common challenge of climate change, we all have different responsibilities in terms of how we tackle climate change, especially regarding our different capabilities. At its most basic this can be interpreted as meaning that a rich country that industrialised early should reduce its emissions more quickly and severely than a poor state that has only recently industrialised.

The concept is hugely important as it ensures that those developing states who are not contributing to climate change are not obliged to contribute more than they can to tackling it. However the principle has proved contentious with some arguing that certain parties use the principle to avoid taking action on climate change.

Carbon Debt
Now, we have a situation where we know we can only emit a certain amount of emissions into the atmosphere to cap warming at 1.5 degrees. We are in this situation because too many countries put too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the past.

When we allocate remaining emissions that can be used, we must consider the past emissions as well as future emissions. Some people refer to past emissions as a historical carbon debt.

Equity is all about each nation feeling they are taking actions appropriate to their responsibilities for emissions reductions. It was discussed a great deal within the ADP, alongside CBDR.
Fossil Fuel Subsidies (FFS), especially for production in the developed world, are an area that could see huge mitigation benefits if reformed. Jamie from UKYCC discusses this at COP18.
It is important not to get too focused on mitigation at the cost of forgetting about important areas of the talks such as adaptation and finance. Many countries need finance in order to make the emissions cuts they have pledged in their INDCs, and to adapt. Many countries made pledges of climate finance in the lead up to Paris, with a strong focus on mobilising private finance.
Youth at Bonn, 2012, point out that fairness and acknowledging historical emissions and acting on them is the only way forward.
Equity is often talked about as between countries but it's vital we make sure it is seen as across generations as well. This is why youth want intergenerational equity to be recognised. This is why YOUNGO have an 'inteq' working group. They succeeded in getting this into the preamble to the agreement, although not the operational part of the text.
Youth at Bonn, 2013, ask negotiators to put intergenerational equity on the table.
All countries experience climate impacts so every country is expected to have a National Adaptation Plan to protect their communities. However, not all countries do and adaptation is often seen as a developing country issue. Some people just have a nap instead...
This graph by Climate Analytics shows there is a substantial emissions gap between what's needed for 1.5C (the bottom green line) and what the INDC pledges would deliver (red line).
In Paris, UKYCC and lots of other climate campaigners drew a zero around their eye - showing their support for zero emissions
The future of ADP...
Now that the Paris Agreement has been achieved (which was the specific mandate the ADP was given), the group has been replaced by APA (yes - another acronym!) APA stands for the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement. This group has the mandate to 'prepare for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement' and it had its first meeting at the Bonn Intersessional in May 2016. Its priorities include developing guidance on the NDCs, making sure there is a transparent framework for action and support, and preparing for the first global 'stock-take' in 2018.
A YOUNGO action at COP21 on climate finance for small island states
Intergenerational equity
Read more about climate finance in the Paris Agreement here: https://www.odi.org/comment/10201-climate-finance-agreed-paris-cop21
The 'ratchet mechanism' refers to the part of the Paris Agreement which ensures that the INDC pledges only ever go forwards, not backwards. Each country has to pledge a new INDC every 5 years and there is a 'no backsliding' clause which means these always have to commit to higher emissions reductions than the last time. The first global stock-take of pledges will take place in 2018 at COP24, which will encourage countries to make higher pledges to help towards the 1.5C target.
Increasing climate ambition every 5 years might be considered 'difficult' by some... 'Difficult Dave' is a video made by UKYCC during the Paris climate talks:
Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement
Full transcript