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The Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009 (COP-15)

Today is Blog Action Day, the annual event in which bloggers worldwide unite to draw attention to a particularly urgent topic. After last year’s topic of ‘poverty’, this year the organizers have chosen ‘climate change’ as the common subject. And what would be better suited for an international law blog to write about in support of this event than the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. So here is a short summary.

The Conference, which will take place between 7-18 December, will not only be the 15th Conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change but also the 5th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. What is the goal of the Conference? The roadmap established at the UN Climate Change Conference 2007 in Bali (including the so-called Bali Action Plan) laid down a course for a new negotiating process designed to tackle climate change, with the aim of completion by 2009. The overall goal therefore is to bring this negotiating process to an end, hopefully in the form of an ambitious global climate agreement for the period from 2012.

As to the substantive issues that presumably will be dealt the issues already mentioned in Bali will probably again be high on the agenda in Copenhagen. This includes: (I) Emission reduction (in Bali it was agreed that “deep cuts in global emissions will be required to achieve the ultimate objective of avoiding dangerous climate change” and that “a long-term global goal for emission reductions” was necessary); (II) Forests (in Bali pledges were made to consider “policy approaches and positive incentives” to reduce deforestation and conserve forest cover); (III) Adaptation (Bali called for enhanced co-operation to “support urgent implementation” of measures to protect poorer countries against climate change impacts); (IV) Technology Transfer (at the Bali conference it was decided that States would consider how to “remove obstacles to, and the provision of financial and other incentives for, scaling up” the transfer of clean energy technologies from industrialized States to the developing world).

The expectations on the Copenhagen Conference – and thus the media attention surrounding it – have been enormous. A sheer endless number of websites is drawing attention to the event (see e.g.;; and thereby increases the pressure on the States participating in the event to really reach a conclusive agreement.

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