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25 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 144 (1995)
The First Conference of the Parties

handle is hein.journals/envpola25 and id is 144 raw text is: 



I UN/Convention on Climate Change |

The First Conference of the Parties

         by Sebastian  Oberthflr / Hermann   Ott *

   The  first session of the Conference of the Parties
(COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (FCCC)  took place in Berlin from 28
March  to 7 April 1995. By the end of March 1995, 127
countries and the European Community had ratified the
Convention.  For  117 countries and the European
Community  the Convention had entered into force by the
end of the session, all but one of these Parties to the
Convention were represented. In addition, more than 50
States took part as observers together with almost 200
observer  organizations (UN  specialized agencies,
intergovernmental organizations, and nongovernmental
organizations). Furthermore, more than 2000 journalists
were registered at the Berlin Summit. All in all, around
4,000 participants followed the conference proceedings.
   During the meeting, the COP was addressed, inter alia,
by the heads of UNEP, Mrs. Elisabeth Dowdeswell, of
UNDP,  James Gustave Speth, by the then Chairman of
the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), the
former German environment minister Klaus Tdpfer, and
by the German  Chancellor Helmut Kohl. All of them
called for further measures to combat climate change. Of
particular importance was the speech by the German
Chancellor who was the only Head of State addressing
the Conference. He demonstrated leadership by stressing
the need for a protocol on greenhouse gas emissions
reductions and reiterated that Germany was committed
to reach a 25 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions from
1990 levels by the year 2005.
   The Conference had been prepared during six sessions
of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC)
for a Framework Convention on Climate Change' - the
same  body  that was in charge of negotiating the
Convention, opened for signature at the June 1992 Earth
Summit  in Rio de Janeiro. Lengthy negotiations had thus
preceded the Berlin Climate Summit for two and a half
years. Nevertheless, the COP failed to adopt a reduction
protocol for the time after the year 2000. Important issues
like the Rules of Procedure and the extension of existing
commitments  after the year 2000 were left unresolved.
However, the decision to negotiate a protocol or other
legal instrument until COP 3 in 1997 is precise and strong
enough to call the Conference a good start.
*  Sebastian Oberthur: Geselilschaft fur Politikanalyse, Berlin;
Hermann Ott: Staff Lawyer, Climate Policy Division, Wuppertal
Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

Adequacy  of Commitments: The Berlin Mandate
   According to Article 4.2 (d) FCCC the first Conference
of the Parties had to review whether the current comm it-
ments under Art.4.2(a) and (b) of the Convention are
adequate to reach its objective. This objective is spelled
out in Art.2, i.e. the stabilization of greenhouse gas
concentrations in the atmosphere at a level which would
prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the
climate system. A second review will take place no later
than 1998. As experience in other environmental regimes
shows, these review clauses have a great potential to
support their dynamic evolution.2
   Three ways of developing the Convention further can
be distinguished. First, the Convention itself could be
amended.  An amendment   could enter into force after
adoption and ratification by three-fourths of the Parties
(Article 15), This option would have the disadvantage of
re-opening the carefully balanced compromise package
arrived at before Rio. Second, the climate change regime
could be developed by decisions and declarations of the
Parties to the Convention. Some of these instruments
would, however, lack the necessary legally binding nature
for this purpose. Third, the Convention  could be
complemented  by one or several protocols. Protocols are
legally binding instruments which can be designed so as
to be flexible enough to be adapted to changing circum-
stances as the need arises.
   International negotiations on the adequacy of commit-
ments started no sooner than at INC 9 in February 1994.
By INC  10, held in Geneva in August/September 1994,
consensus emerged  among  OECD   countries that the
commitments  currently included in the Convention are
not adequate. The great majority of OECD countries
appeared to support negotiating one comprehensive
protocol as the means of developing the climate change
regime further.' Such a protocol had to be submitted six
months before COP 1 by 28 September 1994 (cf Article
17.2). After it became apparent that none of the industri-
alised countries was prepared to do it, the Alliance of
Small Island States (AOSIS) submitted a draft protocol
calling for a 20 per cent reduction of the CO2 emissions
of industrial countries by 2005, i.e. the so-called Toronto
target.' Germany followed and formally submitted a paper
entitled elements of a protocol, first introduced into the
debate at INC 10.7
   With regard to the adequacy of commitments, the

0378-777X/90/$3.50 C 1995 lOS B.V.


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