COP17 glossary

28 November 2011

COP17Thousands are swarming to Durban from across the globe for the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP17, which starts on 28 November and runs until 9 December. These delegates will have plenty to talk about. Here, from UCT's Energy Research Centre blog, we borrow bits and pieces of an unofficial glossary that might come in handy for the uninitiated. (We've even pinched the title.) See the full glossary.

CDM - Clean Development Mechanism. A project-based emissions trading system under the Kyoto Protocol that allows industrialised countries to use emission reduction credits from projects in developing countries that both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable development.

COP - Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention. The supreme body of the Convention. Currently it meets once a year to review the Convention's progress. The word 'conference' is not used here in the sense of 'meeting' but rather of 'association', which explains the seemingly redundant expression "fourth session of the Conference of the Parties".

DC - Developing country.

EIT - Economy in transition. EITs typically include the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (eg Poland), the former Soviet Union (eg Russia), and Central Asian Republics (eg Kazakhstan).

G77 - Group of 77. Founded in 1967 under the auspices of the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD); seeks to harmonise the negotiating positions of its 133 developing-country members.

GWP - Global Warming Potential. An index that allows for comparison of the various greenhouse gases. It is the radiative forcing that results from the addition of one kilogram of a gas to the atmosphere compared to an equal mass of carbon dioxide. Over 100 years, methane has a GWP of 21 and nitrous oxide of 310.

KP - Kyoto Protocol. An international agreement adopted by all Parties to the Climate Convention in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. Not ratified by the US.

PAMs - Policies and measures. The promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency, forest conservation, or other actions for the reduction or limitation of greenhouse gases or for sustainable development (to be implemented by Annex I Parties under Article 2.1 of the Protocol).

REDD - Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries.

QEERTs - Quantified economy-wide emission reduction targets, for developed countries in the Cancun decision 1/CP.16.

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