This week, the students in my course “Climate Change: Science and Society” completed the “22nd” Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Groups of students representing 24 different countries worked feverishly for a week to complete an agreement. Without further ado, we present to you the Vancouver Climate Agreement:
VANCOUVER CLIMATE AGREEMENT
OUTCOME OF THE MOCK 22nd CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE
UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
1. All countries present agree that forests, land use changes, and other sinks shall be included when calculating net greenhouse gas emissions, excluding unintentional and unavoidable natural disasters such as pests and fires. Greenhouse gas emissions including emissions from land use, land use change, and forestry should be reported every five years.
2. The parties also reported these specific collective mitigation targets:
- The European Union and the Norway agree to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030 and 60% below 1990 levels by the year 2050.
- In pursuit of this agreement, Norway and Germany pledge to work together to improve trade and reduce emissions.
- The People’s Republic of China (China), Indonesia, and the United States of America (USA) agree to reduce their emissions from coal to 10% below 2014 levels by 2025 and 20% below 2014 levels by 2050. The USA and China understand that they are leaders in green technology; therefore, we must find a goal to motivate each other to reduce our usage of coal. The parties also agree to pursue investment in cleaner coal technology.
3. The parties to the Convention agree that developed nations should contribute 1% of their current gross domestic product (GDP) to the Green Climate Fund by 2030. On the principle that countries with the highest GDP per capita should contribute the most financial resources, there may be three tiers of funding based upon per capita GDP: 1% from most developed nations, 0.5% from mid developed countries, and 0% from lowest developed countries.
4. All financing will be governed by the new Effective Foreign Domestic Investment (FDI) Framework. This framework would be implemented to ensure that financial resources provided by any nation would go to the ‘right place’ and be used effectively in climate change strategies. Rather than money being donated and lost, this strategy would attempt to ensure money is being used in the most beneficial way possible.
5. All parties agreed that governments shall provide subsidies of green technologies to make them affordable to developing nations through a new Coalition of Technology Transfer (COTE), proposed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). All countries are welcome to join and promote a sharing economy of innovative technology in an attempt to fast-track innovation and reduce double-spending. The goal of this organization is to create a more equitable and just approach to combating climate change.
In the creation of COTE, Bangladesh notes the importance of a switch in conventional cooking technology by enhancing biomass-cooking stoves and of landfill gas capture. Nigeria notes that without private sector financing boosted by government assistance and guarantees, implementation of current and future technologies and the overall benefit brought to our populations will be severely hindered. Also, Indonesia requests greater academic research collaboration with developed nations on the application of technology.
6. All parties agreed to participate in a framework for education opportunity through university partnerships, proposed by the United Kingdom (UK). With the proposed 0.5-1% of GDP of developed nations directed towards international aid by 2030, some of the funding can be funnelled into university programs to train and educate workers in developing nations to bridge the gap between technology transfer and domestic development. Following concerns expressed by Mexico, measures will be taken to mitigate possible “brain drain” from the scholarship program.
7. A new Green Technology Transfer on Property Rights, to facilitate the transfer of green technology, was proposed by China, India, and Bolivia. It would ensure that intellectual property rights be shared and made a common good.
8. The following bilateral and multilateral coalitions and agreements were created:
- The African parties to the Convention (Nigeria, Ethiopia, and South Africa present) agree to work together to:
- Limit the planet’s temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that a rise to 2°C above pre-industrial levels would result in disastrous consequences for the continent of Africa;
- Receive assistance in ensuring that all of our citizens have access to clean and reliable electricity. This will involve, but not be limited to: connecting those currently without access and transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable sources, while also guaranteeing that the appropriate capital will be available for justifiable projects;
- Put measures in place to allow for compensation due to both historical loss and damage and future loss and damage in the event that certain aspects of the agreement are broken.
- Nigeria, Bangladesh, Philippines, Pakistan, Mexico, and Indonesia as representatives of “The Next Eleven” group of countries agree to work together to pursue key factors – macroeconomic stability, political maturity, openness of trade and investment policies, and quality of education – needed for equitable success. They also stipulate that any UNFCCC agreement should not unfairly favour G7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA, and the European Union) and BRICS (Brazil, the Russian Federation (Russia), India, China, and South Africa) countries. The group notes that the G7 and BRICS countries have been responsible for over two thirds of carbon emissions since 1990 and must not use this summit to limit the economic potential of countries such as ours while reducing emissions at unsatisfactory rates. The group will work together to encourage free trade and sustainable investment between all states while the top emitters make the largest reductions.
- The Pacific countries (Australia, Fiji, and RMI) agreed that Australia will be the central hub for the transmission of technological innovation and will be responsible for dispersing it in order to keep all parties up to speed. This agreement also represents smaller island nations who are not present in the 2016 Vancouver Climate Summit.
- France, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Russia seek to create a global coalition to enhance nuclear energy technology. This initiative seeks to bring together research on improving the efficiency of nuclear technology with hopes of finally making nuclear fusion on earth a reality. It will also address the issue of nuclear waste with the assurance of developing proper containment and disposal strategies.
- Brazil, Indonesia, and Bolivia are working together with the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (UN-REDD) as developing nations with large forest lands, to best welcome funding through the REDD Programme. The countries agreed that strong forestry management, strict policies, monitoring, and reporting are all factors that will help encourage developed countries to contribute more through REDD+ (REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks). Brazil also pledged to have a carbon neutral forestry sector by the year 2050, which was an addition to the pledge of abolishing illegal deforestation by 2030. Canada agreed to help Brazil with these forest sector goals through an exchange of knowledge and technology as well as funding through REDD+.
COUNTRIES PRESENT FOR NEGOTIATIONS
All delegations have three members and all delegations participate in all the negotiating tracks.
- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- People’s Republic of China
- Republic of the Marshall Islands
- Russian Federation
- South Africa
- United Kingdom
- United States of America