Global Climate Action at the UNFCCC

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the basic international legal instrument for channeling international cooperation to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent catastrophic anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, adopted in 1997 and entered into force in 2005, imposes emissions reduction and limitation obligations on industrialized country Parties.

Current climate action is governed by the Kyoto Protocol and a series of UNFCCC decisions starting with the Cancun Agreements in 2010, which addressed mitigation, adaptation, forest-related climate actions (REDD+), finance, technology transfer, and capacity building. The need to respect human rights in all climate-related actions is explicitly recognized in the Cancun Agreements.

CIEL has helped coordinate a core group of organizations focused on rights-related issues and contributed to interventions and submissions to the deliberations within the UNFCCC. Additionally, we have provided support to the civil society focal points in their ongoing dialogues with the UNFCCC Secretariat on these matters.

Now, the negotiations are focused on two tracks: a new climate agreement to govern climate action after 2020;  and ways to increase current climate action because existing pledges are not enough to keep the world to below 2 degrees warming, let alone 1.5 degrees that some of the most vulnerable States are calling for.