13 December 2005

United Nations Climate Change Conference Agrees on Future Critical Steps to Tackle Climate Change

(Reissued as received.)

MONTREAL, 10 December (UNFCCC) The United Nations Climate Change Conference closed with the adoption of more than 40 decisions that will strengthen global efforts to fight climate change.

Reflecting on the success of Montreal 2005, the Conference President, Canadian Environment Minister Stéphane Dion said:  "Key decisions have been made in several areas.  The Kyoto Protocol has been switched on, a dialogue about the future action has begun, parties have moved forward work on adaptation and advanced the implementation of the regular work programme of the Convention and of the Protocol."

Richard Kinley, acting head of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat said:  "This has been one of the most productive UN Climate Change Conferences ever.  Our success in implementing the Kyoto Protocol, improving the Convention and Kyoto, and innovating for tomorrow led to an agreement on a variety of issues.  This plan sets the course for future action on climate change."

Key decisions were made that outline the path to future international action on climate change.  Under the Kyoto Protocol, the process for future commitments beyond 2012 got under way.  A new working group was established to discuss future commitments for developed countries for the period after 2012.  It will start work in May next year.

Under the Convention, a dialogue on strategic approaches for long-term global cooperative action to address climate change was also launched.  A series of workshops is planned to develop the broad range of actions needed to respond to the climate change challenge.

During the first week of the conference, the rulebook of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was adopted, the so-called 'Marrakesh accords'.  Richard Kinley called this "an historic step", which had set the framework for implementation of the Protocol.  "There is now certainty for a sustained and effective global carbon market.  One of the main successes was the strengthening of the clean development mechanism.  Under this unique mechanism, developed countries can invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries, helping the developing nations to improve the quality of life for their citizens while also allowing developed nations to earn emission allowances", United Nations Climate Secretariat's acting head said.

In Montreal, developed countries committed themselves to fund the operation of the clean development mechanism with over $13 million in 2006-2007.  The process for methodologies under the clean development mechanism was simplified and its governing body strengthened.

In addition to this, the second Kyoto mechanism -- Joint Implementation -- was launched.  Its governing body was set up.  Joint Implementation allows developed countries to invest in other developed countries, in particular central and eastern European transition economies, and thereby earn carbon allowances, which they can use to meet their emission reduction commitments.

A major break-through was the agreement on the compliance regime for the Kyoto Protocol.  The compliance committee, with its enforcement and facilitative branches, was elected.  This decision is key to ensure that the Parties to the Protocol have a clear accountability regime in meeting their emission reductions targets.

Adaptation to the impacts of climate change was also an important focus of the conference.  It adopted a five-year work programme on adaptation to climate change impacts.  This programme paves the way for concrete steps to identify impacts and measures to adapt to climate change.  To this end, the conference also agreed on a one-year process to define how the Adaptation Fund will be managed and operated.  This unique fund will draw on proceeds generated by the clean development mechanism, and will support concrete adaptation activities in developing countries.

Technology was at the centre of discussion on efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts.  Countries agreed on further steps on promoting the development and transfer of technologies.  One technology that raised particular interest was carbon capture and storage -- a technology that involves storing carbon underground.  It is estimated to have the potential of reducing the costs of mitigation by up to 30 per cent.  The discussion was based on a special report recently published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  Parties agreed to move forward with deeper analysis of this technology.

For further information, please contact:  John Hay, Spokesperson, climate change secretariat (UNFCCC), tel.:  (+49-228) 815-1404 or Alexander Saier, Public Information Officer, tel.:  (+49-228) 815-1509; See also http://unfccc.int .

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