Leading Efforts to Address Climate Change Through International Negotiations
(Climate Action Plan, p. 21.)
- UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. At the 2015 UNFCCC conference, the United States is to seek an ambitious, inclusive, and flexible agreement. It needs to be ambitious to meet the scale of the challenge facing us. It needs to be inclusive because there is no way to meet that challenge unless all countries step up and play their part. And it needs to be flexible because there are many differently situated parties with their own needs and imperatives, and those differences will have to be accommodated in smart, practical ways.
- Montreal Protocol. At the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, the United States is to seek adoption of an amendment that would phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
- International Maritime Organization. The United States is to implement sector-wide, internationally applicable energy-efficiency standards agreed to at IMO.
- International Civil Aviation Organization. At ICAO, the United States is to seek to achieve ambitious aspirational emissions and energy-efficiency targets and to seek agreement to develop a comprehensive global approach.
Implementation, Progress, and Outcomes
January 1, 2014: The Department of State (DOS) submitted the 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the UNFCCC. The full report and related documents are available for download from the DOS website.
All parties to the UNFCCC are required to submit a "national communication" every four years, reporting their actions and progress in combating climate change. In addition, reflecting decisions reached at recent UNFCCC meetings, all parties must now submit biennial reports on their greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation efforts, and progress toward meeting goals for 2020. The new report contains both the sixth U.S. National Communication and the first U.S. Biennial Report. According to the fact sheet released along with it, the two documents:
- Explain how U.S. social and economic circumstances affect U.S. greenhouse gas emission levels;
- Summarize U.S. greenhouse gas emission trends from 1990 through 2011;
- Identify existing and planned U.S. policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- Show future trends for U.S. greenhouse gas emissions under both existing and planned climate policies and measures;
- Outline the potential impacts of climate change on the United States and the preparedness and resilience measures the Nation is taking to address those impacts; Provide information on climate-related financial resources and technology diffusion; and
- Detail U.S. research and systematic observation efforts and describe U.S. climate education, training, and outreach initiatives.
(Fact Sheet, DOS, 2014 U.S. Climate Action Report.)
September 6, 2013: The G20 leaders, as well as Ethiopia, Spain, Senegal, Brunei, Kazakhstan, and Singapore, expressed support for using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs. (Press Release, White House, United States, China, and Leaders of G-20 Countries Announce Historic Progress Toward a Global Phase Down of HFCs (Sept. 6, 2013).)
October 21–25, 2013: The 25th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol took place in Bangkok. (Meetings of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (last visited Nov. 5, 2013).) The United States, Canada, and Mexico offered a proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to (1) phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons in all Parties, (2) control byproduct emissions of HFC-23, (3) address trade in HFCs, and (4) require licensing systems and reporting on HFCs. (Daniel A. Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Sec’y, Bureau of Oceans and Int’l Envtl. & Sci. Affairs, DOS, Statement on North American HFC Amendment Proposal (Oct. 22, 2013).) (An FAQ on the proposal is available.) India and Saudi Arabia blocked the proposal but the Parties did agree to conduct an assessment of the cost and benefits of a global HFC phase-down under the rubric of the Montreal Protocol. (François Le Goff, Countries agree to cost global HFC phase-down, ENDS Europe (Oct. 25, 2013).)
This page was last updated on Jan. 1, 2014.