COP21: The 21st Conference of Parties may result in new international agreements and goals aimed at cutting greenhouse gases.
CNN cheat sheet deciphers confusing acronyms linked to COP21
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Bureaucracies. They can be weird, right?
Sometimes they form their own microcultures and create unique words to go with those cultures.
Example: The United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference and the 21st session of the Conference of Parties.
If you haven’t heard about COP21 yet, it’s a big meeting of bureaucrats from 195 nations happening between November 30 and December 11 in Paris, where they’ll discuss the current impact of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. They also might negotiate new agreements or set goals aimed at cutting emissions in the future.
Here’s a sampling of unique language surrounding COP21. See if you can figure it out. It’s from a document about workflow – and be warned – it may give you a headache:
“… the ADP shall hold its first session of 2016 in conjunction with the first sessions of the SBSTA and the SBI in 2016 to organize its work on the implementation of the work programme referred to in paragraphs 7–9 above and to prepare draft decisions to be recommended by the COP to the CMA for consideration and adoption at its first session; …”
It brings to mind a more familiar acronym: WTF.
That paragraph contains enough acronyms to put a teenager with a smartphone to shame. I mean, it almost looks like a secret language, right?
I’m wondering who ADP is. Apparently it’s important to know when the COP will get with the CMA. Seems like there may be a bit of drama here: Will the ADP be able to coordinate with the SBSTA and the SBI?
Seriously, how will everyday humans understand this alien bureau-speak without a cheat sheet?
Wait! Cheat sheet. Great idea!
Here are some COP21-related acronyms we may run into during the conference.
Alliances of nations:
To strengthen their negotiating positions, nations with similar interests come to COP21 as members of various alliances – kind of like an episode of TV’s “Survivor” or “Big Brother.”
Climate change blogger Renee Juliene Karunungan has been having some fun with it, too. “In high school you had the jocks and cheerleaders, the bullies, and the nerds. In the UNFCCC you have the negotiating blocks …”
These alliances have full names that are a mouthful to pronounce and a pain to remember. It’s easier to just use acronyms. But God forbid that somebody has a dyslexic moment and confuses the MLDC with the LMDC. It might spark an international incident.
Some of these names sound like they could be the next new recording artist, dropping a fresh album on iTunes. Who knows? Soon we all might be chillin’ to the infectious beats of G77, AR5 and BASIC.
- G77: The Group of 77 and China also includes Chile, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and 72 others
- CD: Cartagena Dialogue is an informal alliance of about 40 countries.
- AOSIS: Alliance of Small Island States are 44 island and low-lying coastal countries
- AILAC: Association of Independent Latin American and Caribbean States
- MLDC: Mountainous Landlocked Developing Countries includes Armenia, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
- LMDC: Like-Minded Developing Countries is a new group that represents 50% of the world’s population and includes India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
- BASIC: Brazil, South Africa, India, China
- LAS: League of Arab States: 21 Arab nations in northern and northeastern Africa and southwest Asia
- CVF: Climate Vulnerable Forum is made up of 20 nations which describe themselves as “highly vulnerable to a warming planet.”
- LDC: 48 countries designated by the United Nations as least-developed
- EIG: The Environmental Integrity Group includes Mexico, Liechtenstein, Monaco, South Korea and Switzerland.
- ALBA: Antigua, Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts, Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela
- UMBRELLA group: Informal alliance of non-European Union-developed nations including Australia, Canada, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States
- AGN: African Group of Negotiators is made up of African members of the United Nations.
- ASEAN: Association of Southeast Asian Nations consists of 10 member states
- BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
- CACAM Group: Central Asia, Caucasus, Albania and Moldova
- UNFCCC: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a global climate treaty agreed on in 1992. COP21 comes 21 years after the birth of UNFCCC.
- GHG: Greenhouse gases are gases blamed for climate change because they trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. Examples include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases.
- AR5: The Fifth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which details the effects of climate change, both currently and in the future
- CDM: The Clean Development Mechanism allows emission reduction projects in developing countries earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits which can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is a 1997 global climate treaty that extended a previous treaty from 1992.
Panels and groups:
- IPCC: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change evaluates scientific information surrounding climate change.
- WGs: Three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working groups, which are tasked with three different areas of interest
- CSD: The Commission on Sustainable Development is tasked with following up on agreements at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), aka the Earth Summit.
- SBI: The Subsidiary Body for Implementation assesses and reviews effective implementation of the Convention of Parties and its Kyoto Protocol.
- SBSTA: Subsidiery Body for Scientific and Technological Advice provides the IPCC with timely scientific and technological information
- ADP: Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action is a U.N. body tasked with developing a new climate agreement that would be approved in 2015 and go into effect in 2020.
- COP: The Conference of the Parties is the supreme body of the COP21 convention.
- CMA: The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the [Paris] Agreement
- COP/MOP: The Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol reviews the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and takes decisions to promote its effective implementation.
- REDD: The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation program is a U.N. collaborative initiative aimed at mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions in developing nations through forest management.
- SRM: Solar radiation management is a geoengineering concept aimed at using solar dynamics to manipulate the amount of solar heat on Earth by reflecting it away from the planet.
- CDR: Carbon dioxide removal is another geoengineering idea which aims to develop ways to scrub C02 from the air and store it safely at the bottom of the ocean or deep underground.
- AIJ: Activities Implemented Jointly is a volunteer initiative that allows some countries to implement emissions reduction programs in other countries.