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21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change 2015

Presentation of the 21st Conference of Parties

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The COP21 will be held in Paris on the Paris-Le Bourget site that provides the best logistics capacity and accessibility for official delegations, civil society and the media.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992 and has since been ratified by 195 Parties. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 to implement the UNFCCC and entered into force in 2005. It laid down targets for the reduction or limitation of greenhouse gas emissions only in developed countries and transition economies. In 2007, the Parties initiated work aimed at drawing up a post-2012 climate agreement, applicable to all emitters of greenhouse gases.

The Copenhagen political accord of 2009, the Conferences of Cancun (2010), Durban (2011) and Doha (2012) laid the foundations of this new international regime, supplementing the existing instruments in the framework of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. In 2011, the Parties affirmed their will to conclude this new climate agreement in 2015, with entry into force planned for 2020. In accordance with the internal rules of the UNFCCC, providing for an annual rotation by UN regional group, the hosting of the 2015 Summit should be provided by a Western European country.

In September 2012, French President François Hollande announced France’s candidacy to host this major event in 2015. It will be the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC and the 11th meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed this candidacy during the Doha Conference in December 2012. It was endorsed by our regional group at the UN, the WEOG, on 12 April 2013, opening the way for official designation during the Warsaw COP in November 2013.

In order to prepare this Conference under the best conditions, France has chosen to hold it in Paris, at the Paris-Le Bourget site, which has the best hosting and accessibility capacities for official delegations, as well as civil society and the media, which are essential components of the Conference’s success.

France has chosen to make this Conference exemplary in terms of environmental impact. It will implement a programme of action aimed at keeping to a minimum the impact of the meeting in terms of consumption of natural resources (water, waste, energy) and greenhouse gas emissions.

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The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has increased by over 20% since 1958. This increase is the result of human activity and is mainly due to the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation.

What are the challenges facing COP 21 CMP 11 in 2015?

The meeting will mark a decisive stage in negotiations on the future international agreement on a post-2020 regime, and will, as agreed in Durban, adopt the major outlines of that regime.

By the end of the meeting, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, all the nations of the world, including the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, will be bound by a universal agreement on climate.

In order for the agreement to come into effect in 2020, at the end of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, subsequent COP meetings will work on finalising its details. The Presidency of the COP plays a vital role, not only during the actual COP meeting (in reality, a series of meetings held in parallel over a two-week period), but also in the organisation of a number of meetings held in preparation for the COP.

What prompted France’s offer to host COP 21 CMP11?

The annual Conference is hosted on a rotating basis by a country from one of the five recognised UN regions: Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe Group, Latin American and the Caribbean, Western Europe and Others and Africa.

Once the host group is determined on this rotating basis, the choice of host country is made within the group. In 2015, it will be the turn of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) to host and preside over the Conference. In May 2013, WEOG chose France as its proposed host, and the offer was duly submitted to the Doha Climate Change Conference.

In order to fulfil its responsibilities, France will continue to play an active role and will gradually step up its contributions to the negotiations in the years ahead. France already has one of the lowest levels of per capita greenhouse gas emissions of any of the developed countries.

Furthermore, France is laying the groundwork for its own ecological and energy transition towards a future of low carbon consumption and climate change resilience. France will continue to work with its partners, and with the developing countries in particular, through its development cooperation and in conjunction with COP Presidencies past and future.

Alongside its European partners, France will make every effort to remain at the forefront in tackling the challenge of climate change. In his opening speech to a keynote 2012 environmental conference in France, the French President declared that France would argue for an ambitious target of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and of 60% by 2040 (from 1990 levels) at upcoming European talks. He also pledged that, during his five-year term of office, France would engage in real environmental diplomacy.

October 2013

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