Top of the COPs

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Marrakesh, Morocco (COP 7) Oct. 29-Nov. 10, 2001

Focus: Four years after Kyoto, the objective at COP 7 in Marrakesh was clear: finalize the operational details for reducing GHG emissions as set out in the Kyoto Protocol.

Outcome: The meetings ended with the signing of the Marrakesh Accords. These set out the rules on previously disputed issues — penalties for failing to meet reduction targets, financial assistance to developing countries, and the use of carbon sinks to meet reduction targets, a position opposed by European Union nations — as well as the market mechanisms that countries would follow in implementing the Protocol. This marked a sea change for business, according to Gray Taylor, principal at Gray Taylor Law and veteran in climate change and carbon trading. “The business community could now say, ‘Okay, we understand how this thing is going to work.’”

Main challenges: Finding common ground was welcome, but it took formal withdrawal by the U.S. from the Kyoto Protocol to achieve it. This happened in early 2001, under newly elected President George Bush. As a result, the U.S. delegation held observer status until after Marrakesh.

Canada’s role: Absent a U.S. presence, Canada, Japan and Russia carried on the campaign to entrench carbon sinks in the deal, winning even more flexibility than in previous agreements. Satisfied with the outcome, our Parliament ratified the Protocol in 2002.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_image src=”” image_width=”1200″ image_height=”400″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”outside-image” align=”right” margin_bottom=”10″ title=”COP 11 in Montreal in 2005.” desc=”IISD/ENB (WWW.IISD.CA/CLIMATE/COP11)”][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]

Montreal, Canada (COP 11) Nov. 28-Dec. 9, 2005

Focus: After eight years, the Kyoto Protocol had just taken effect following ratification by Russia in 2004. Russia’s vote literally saved the day, lifting treaty support above the critical threshold required for implementation of 55 per cent of the developed world’s GHG emissions.

Outcome: The conference was short on big achievements and long on first steps, collectively dubbed the Montreal Action Plan. Central to this was the creation of a working group to discuss future commitments for industrialized countries beyond the Kyoto Protocol’s 2012 expiry. The event also had a large business focus as the protocol’s enactment gave impetus to emissions trading and clean development work.

Challenges: The event went smoothly, while future obstacles echoed familiar themes: how to take UN action on climate change beyond 2012 with major developed nations like the U.S. and Australia on the sidelines, and how to bring developing nations, exempt under Kyoto, more squarely into the global effort. Canada’s role: With more than 10,000 delegates and federal environment minister Stéphane Dion as president, the event marked Canada’s high point in the entire COP process.

Canada’s role: With more than 10,000 delegates and federal environment minister Stéphane Dion as host chair, the event marked Canada’s high point in the entire COP process, says Gray Taylor.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_button dimension=”three” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” outline_active_color=”#fff” outline_hover_color=”#333333″ bg_color=”#13bdd2″ text_color=”light” url=”/top-of-the-cops/3/” target=”_self” align=”right” fullwidth=”false” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″ animation=”scale-up”]

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