You’re referring to the annual UN Framework Convention on Climate Change “Conference of the Parties.” This year will mark the 19th COP, this one to be held in Poland in November. If I recall, the “Parties” comprise of 192 countries (of the world’s 194), and each voluntarily signed on to meet every year to discuss solutions to climate change impacts.
So, at these COP meetings, countries negotiate what to do about climate change. The Kyoto Protocol - a voluntary treaty to lower emissions - is one example of a collective solution.
I think at the COP19, the “Parties” will vote to either continue or alter the Kyoto Protocol.
Ideally I’d like for decision at future COPs to be legally enforceable. As it stands, decisions and actions are voluntary. If a country pledges to lower emissions or invest in adaptation projects, they have no actual, legally enforceable obligation to carry out their promises.
This happens all the time. For example, at the COP15 held in Copenhagen in 2009, countries agreed to a laundry list of provisions, called the Copenhagen Accord. One major pledge was for countries to donate $100 billion USD per year to the Adaptation Fund, which would help poor countries with natural disaster planning.
It didn’t happen.
So, a legally enforceable mechanism would be a significant improvement over volunteering. Penalties, enforcement, and the governing body of law would be hashed out by the parties.
The second thing is a greater focus on the climate impacts on the disadvantaged, such as children, women, and the elderly. The UNFCCC COP has a group dedicated to resolving gender and health issues, but this group is weak, underfunded, and sort of an add-on.
So, this needs to be flipped around - gender and health issues should be at the center of the COP, and the rest of the negotiations aim to support and resolve those issues.
Good question regarding this post on gender and climate change. At minimum, natural disasters kill more women and girls than men. Social status and education are key issues to resolve in poor countries that are growing fast.
Start with this short report, Gender and Climate Change, from WHO.
Globally, natural disasters such as droughts, floods and storms kill more women than men, and tend to kill women at a younger age. These effects also interact with the nature of the event and social status.
The gender-gap effects on life expectancy tend to be greater in more severe disasters, and in places where the socioeconomic status of women is particularly low.
Other climate-sensitive health impacts, such as undernutrition and malaria, also show important gender differences.
Gender differences occur in health risks that are directly associated with meteorological hazards. These differences reflect a combined effect of physiological, behavioural and socially constructed influences. For example, the majority of European studies have shown that women are more at risk, in both relative and absolute terms, of dying in heatwaves.
Cynthia Rosenzweig Named One of 2012′s Most Influential Scientists
Best College Reviews has compiled a list of the most influential scientists of 2012, and UCCRN’s own Cynthia Rosenzweig has made the list! Scientists were chosen from the fields of Climate Change, Biology, Statistics and Engineering, to name a few. Other scientists chosen include Nate Silver, Adam Steltzner and James Cameron.
See the entire list here: The Most Influential Scientists of 2012
Rosenzweig is a great communicator of climate science, especially impacts on coastal cities. You should get to know her work.