What’s COP17?

Officially it's the 17th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: UNFCCC COP17. Unofficially it's the annual UN Climate Change Conference, which is happening in South Africa from the 28th November – 9th December 2011.

The conference forms part of ongoing negotiations, also incorporating the Meeting of the Parties 7 (MOP7), which address the issues of climate change and environmental degradation facing the world in the 21st century amongst world leaders. Often called the “world cup of climate change”, it’s an important gathering of decision makers about the future.

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol is an important legally binding treaty. It was signed in 1997 and ratified in 2005. The signatories of the Kyoto protocol are also known as CMP, which is why the event in Durban is called COP17/CMP7.

The treaty sets targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, by about 5% from 2008 to 2012. The Kyoto protocol is not perfect, but as the only legally binding treaty of commitment from countries to reduce their GHG emissions, it is important – and it expires in 2012.
This makes COP17/CMP7 an essential meeting in the creation of a new, or revised, treaty.

Why this blog?

We realise the complications inherent in any meeting of world leaders, the politics of GHG emission reduction between developing and developed countries, and the complications of articulating concerns at the conference for the average citizen. Thus realistically, we know that even if we make a big noise and voice our concerns, world leaders are unlikely to change their minds in Durban.

However, we can assist with the longer, more important process of keeping government leaders accountable to their decisions. How? By empowering YOU. This blog serves to provide a personal, simplified version of the happenings of COP17 as we experience it, so that YOU can know what’s going on and hold UN and governments accountable for their decisions. Read, empower yourself, and act. The future is in our hands!