Senior Policy Researcher, Task Manager (NAMAs/MRV), Climate and Energy Area, IGES
Dr. Asakawa completed a Masters of Engineering in Architectural Engineering at the Waseda University Faculty of Science and Engineering. While working at a consulting company on environmental preservation projects based on official development assistance (ODA) and being involved in environmental impact assessment both in Japan and overseas, he obtained a class-1 certification as an Architect and as a Professional Engineer. Subsequently, after working in the development of global warming mitigation and CDM projects, he obtained his Juris Doctor in Legal Affairs at Omiya Law School and passed the National Bar Examination. Since 2013, Dr. Asakawa has been working at IGES in research and investigation on capacity building projects related to bilateral offset credit mechanisms.
Vol.5 November 2014
On the Road to COP21:
A New Framework to address Climate Change
The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP20) will take place from 1 December in Lima, Peru. Negotiations on a new post-2020 climate framework will be conducted in earnest, aiming to reach an agreement at COP21 in Paris in 2015. Kenji Asakawa, IGES Senior Policy Researcher, explains what needs to be done at COP20 and what actions IGES is taking in the run up to COP21.
---COP21 to be held in late 2015 in Paris, France, is slated to be a critical international conference for the future of the earth. Can you tell us why?
COP19 in Warsaw
At COP17 that was held in Durban, South Africa, in November 2011, it was decided that a post-2020 new framework applicable to all Parties should be adopted no later than 2015. Subsequently, at COP19 held in Warsaw, Poland, in November 2013, it was decided that all Parties should formulate draft commitments outlining national levels of commitment to post-2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the run-up to adopting the new framework, and submit them as early as possible in 2015 ahead of COP21.
As such, talks at COP21 are expected to focus on whether sufficient efforts have been made with regards to the draft commitments submitted by each country, or whether there is room for improvement. Following this debate, a new post-2020 framework is to be determined.
The new framework to be decided upon at COP21 will be the foundation of global climate change mitigation, and allegedly will become a new protocol to replace the Kyoto Protocol adopted at COP3 (1997).
All eyes will be on the major greenhouse gas emitters and how far they will go in setting ambitious targets, as this is likely to determine the extent that climate change can be prevented in the future.
---What part will COP20 play as we head towards COP21?Asakawa:
COP20 is slotted to be a meeting to prepare for COP21, where deliberations will take place on what matters should be stipulated in the draft commitments, and what content should make up the new post-2020 framework.
The Kyoto Protocol was adopted at COP3, but in fact, discussions on the agreement began at COP1 in 1995 and then continued through COP2 (1996), so it took two years until the agreement was finally adopted. In the same way, the new framework to be adopted at COP21 is not something that can be created overnight.
Because these things take time, how far discussions progress at COP20 will likely determine the specifics of any agreement on a new framework at COP21.
---What initiatives has IGES carried out so far, and what actions will be taken as we approach COP21?Asakawa:
Every year several IGES researchers participate in COP meetings as official members of the government negotiation delegation representing Japan. Additionally, IGES also participates every year in the sessions of subsidiary bodies, made up principally of practitioner-level representatives.
Further, IGES holds side events at COPs and other meetings, creating a forum for information dissemination and making numerous recommendations based on scientific knowledge that have impact on international debate.
Likewise, we have formally submitted an opinion brief to the UNFCCC on the ideal nature of the post-2020 new framework. We will also be publishing working papers and policy reports on the subject of the new climate framework.
--- Thank you very much.