The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2009 and 2009 Deselect

  1. The 2009 Copenhagen Summit was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, between 7 December and 18 December. The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen fell short of expectations. The conference threatened to collapse on several occasions. Towards the end, the Danish presidency called together a small group of 25 states and worked with them to draft a closing statement. The substance of the agreement and the way it came about attracted vehement objections in the Plenary. Several developing countries said they could not approve an agreement that had been reached by a non-representative group. As a result, the COP merely ‘took note’ of the Copenhagen Accord.The closing statement contains a very general reference to the target of keeping global warming to a maximum two degrees Celsius. Industrialised states and emerging economies have until 1 February 2010 to ‘inscribe’ their national reduction targets.

  2. The 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC and the 5th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol took place from 7-18 Dezember 2009 in Copenhagen and was hosted by the Government of Denmark. The goal was to make binding decisions on central elements of a new climate agreement. This was not achieved. In Copenhagen a group of representatively selected heads of state and government only managed to draw up the Copenhagen Accord (CA) during the last two days of negotiations. All countries supporting the Copenhagen Accord committed to the goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to less than two degrees. The industrialised countries pledged up to 30 billion US-Dollars for climate action in developing countries from 2010-2012. Further plans include establishing a Technology Mechanism and a REDD+ Mechanism. These mechanisms are aimed at supporting developing countries in technology programmes and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

  3. The Government of Maldives hosted the first Climate Vulnerable Forum to highlight the impact of climate change on vulnerable states from 9-10 November 2009, in Bandos Island Resort, Republic of Maldives. The new 11-nation group (V11) adopted a declaration for a low-carbon future to be presented at the U.N. climate-change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  4. The resumed ninth session of the the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and resumed seventh session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) were held from 2-6 November in Barcelona.

  5. Representatives from 11 countries met in Bonn, Germany, from 16-18 September under the auspices of the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS). Supported in its deliberations by several international and nongovernmental organizations dealing with marine conservation, the meeting agreed a number of measures to protect and enhance populations of small whales and dolphins in these European waters. A new strategy for the future prioritises activities focusing on the key threats to small cetaceans, namely bycatch (the incidental capture of animals by fishing activities) and disturbance by noise.

  6. The Third World Climate Conference (WCC-3) was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 31 August to 4 September 2009. It was organised by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Council for Science and other intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. The WCC-3 decided to establish a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), a UN-led initiative spearheaded by WMO to guide the development and application of science-based climate information and services in support of decision-making. The GFCS has four initial priority sectors: agriculture and food security, water, health and disaster risk reduction.

  7. The Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) held intersessional informal consultations from 10 to 14 August 2009. The meetings are taking place at the Hotel Maritim in Bonn, Germany.

  8. At the L'Aquila summit both the G8 countries and the group of the 16 major developed and emerging countries (Major Economies Forum, MEF) committed themselves to international climate protection. MEF countries produce about 80 percent of the annually emitted greenhouse gases. The pledge of both groups of countries to limit the average temperature increase to less than 2 degrees based on pre-industrialisation reference levels is a substantial success. In the fight against climate change the G8 thus again assume a frontrunner role by setting a greenhouse gas emission reduction goal of 80 percent by 2050 for developed countries.

  9. International scientists hold the first ever debate on the contribution of cultural studies to climate research. The foreseeable consequences of dangerous climate change call for combined global efforts for climate protection – efforts that require great social, political and cultural changes. These aspects of climate protection will be discussed for the first time between scientists of various disciplines and international experts from the worlds of politics and business. The conference from June 8-10 in Essen (Germany) aims to consolidate the social debate on climate change and provide new incentives for scientific policy advice in the run-up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009. The conference is hosted by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities in Essen (KWI) and Stiftung Mercator, in cooperation with the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

  10. A second round of global climate talks was hold in Bonn from 1-12 June 2009. The conference aimed to make progress towards a new international climate agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

  11. The first World Ocean Conference take place from May 11 through May 15, 2009 in the Indonesian city of Manado in North Sulawesi. Environmental experts, officials and ministers from over 80 will discuss the state of the oceans and the role they play in the world's changing climate. One of the main aims is to create a forum to coordinate international conservation efforts to counter the impact of rising sea levels and dwindling fish stocks blamed on higher temperatures.

  12. A two-day conference in Athens on the future of European biodiversity policy entitled "Biodiversity Protection – Beyond 2010" will open on Monday the 27th of April. Some 230 delegates from all the EU Member States, together with representatives from NGOs, European business and UN organisations will discuss current EU policy on preserving EU biodiversity identify priorities for future action.

  13. The Seventh session of the AWG-KP and fifth session of the AWG-LCA took place from Sunday 29 March to Wednesday 8 April 2009 in Maritim, Bonn. It was the first of five planned negotiating sessions before COP 15 in Copenhagen in December.

  14. The First Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation was held at the resort of Hua Hin, Thailand from January 27-30, hosted by the Royal Government of Thailand. All 13 tiger range countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam) were represented in Hua Hin. During this conference, the ministers and representatives adopted the Hua Hin Declaration on Tiger Conservation. In the declaration, tiger range states pledged to increase occupancy and numbers of the remaining wild tigers within each country and jointly strive to double the global tiger population by 2022.