Climate Change COP 21, Paris

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CORDIO participated  in the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change  (COP21/CMP11), to highlight the stark threat to coral reefs.

The COP was hosted in Paris and chaired by France from 30 November to 11 December 2015.logo-COP21

We were involved in the following events and stories:

The Paris Agreement

A surprise outcome from the COP, to many, was the adoption of the aspirational “Paris Agreement“. It was adopted by all countries, and is to be signed and ratified during 2016. Download the agreement.


The surprise was that the agreement committed countries to maintaining climate change to below the generally agreed “safe” level of 2°C, with further aspiration to limit change to less than 1.5°C. Further, countries agreed to update their targets every 5 years. This common ground was a big surprise given the lack of commitment and agreement shown by countries in prior COPs, in particularly Copenhagen, in 2009.

Nevertheless, critics of the Agreement are many, as it did not include any quantitative or binding targets, leaving implementation up to the goodwill of countries.

See the links below to useful commentary on the Paris Agreement and the way forward.


Climate change and the oceans

Ocean impacts-ClimateA broad literature is being generated on both the impacts to the oceans from climate change, and climate solutions that can come from the oceans. A brief summary of these prepared for the newspaper ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’ by Thorsten Kiefer of FutureEarth is presented here.

Background to the UNFCCC

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted during the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992, recognizing the reality of anthropocentric (human-induced) climate change and giving industrialized countries an opportunity to combat it.

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted at the UNFCCC COP in 1997  was a milestone in the international negotiations around climate change. The protocol for the first time, offered binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for industrialized countries. The protocol, which entered into force in 2005, was intended to cover the period 2008-2012.

The Bali Action Plan of 2007, introduced a longer term vision which set timelines for the negotiations towards reaching a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, due to expire in 2012. It was expected that an agreement would be reached in the Copenhagen COP of December 2009. The Copenhagen COP failed ot deliver on this agreement.

At COP15 in Cancun, Mexico , countries recognised the common objective of abating the increase in global temperature below 2°C.  The Durban platform for enhanced action (ADP), in 2011 demonstrated willingness of counties to act.  This would be achieved by all countries, both developed and developing, to the table to develop “another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” applicable to all the States Parties to the UNFCCC.

Over the next few yeasr, all  States were invited to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions ahead of COP21, turning away from the prescribed, top-down approah previously used, to a voluntary effort document by monitoring and evaluation.

In Paris 2015, CORDIO will be representing different efforts geared towards providing practical solutions in tackling climate change and adapting to its impacts. Regular updates will be provided through blogposts and social media.