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CAN Canada members wait for word of an agreement in the final hours of negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal, December 9-10, 2005.

COP 11 - Montreal

What was achieved at the 2005 United Nations Climate Change Conference?

Climate Conference Wrap Up
by Elizabeth May

The United Nations Climate Change Conference came to a close in Montreal in the early morning hours of December 10, 2005. Canada and over 150 other countries agreed to undertake formal talks on mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases beyond the current 2012 “end date” for the Kyoto Protocol. For a day-by-day account of events during the climate change conference, read Elizabeth May’s blog at

Here's what was accomplished at the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal:

  • The goal of the Bush Administration was to kill Kyoto. They wanted a headstone for the world-saving treaty reading "Born February 16, 2005, Died December 31, 2012" (the end of the first commitment period.)

    Instead, we have launched Kyoto Phase Two. The Article 3.9 decision calls for negotiations through an "ad hoc working group" with a goal of completing negotiations for a new round of binding emission reduction targets for industrialized countries to be completed in order to ensure "no gap" between the end of the 1st commitment period (2008-2012) and the new one. That means concluding negotiations by 2008-9, in order to be sure of ratification in order to start a new commitment period on January 1, 2013.

    THIS IS HUGE! It means climate negotiators will be working between now and the next COP to make real progress.

  • We passed all the rules to make Kyoto work (the COP-7 decisions from Marrakesh).

  • We enhanced the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and countries in attendance contributed $8 million (US) to help the CDM Executive Board and secretariat.

  • A decision was also made to prepare well for the discussions at the next COP-MOP, December 2006 in Nairobi, under Article 9. It deals with both industrialized AND developing countries in looking at the future Kyoto contributions ALL can make.

  • The COP11-COP/MOP1 conference in Montreal really shone a spotlight on the progressive elements within the US, beyond the regressive and dangerous Bush Administration. Mayors committed to Kyoto, 190 in the US alone, received attention. The role of labour in the US supporting Kyoto was also highlighted. Faith groups, including US evangelicals concerned about climate, also participated. Business leaders from the US who are calling for climate action were also in attendance. And the YOUTH of the US really participated strongly. In one meeting between US youth and the US delegation, the youth call to protect their future led one (male) US official to cry.

  • The US media may finally have figured out that Kyoto did not die when Bush pulled out.


Only a few small things.... :)

  • Make sure the negotiations between now and 2008 result in targets for industrialized country reductions that are meaningful. The Youth declaration and the Cities international declaration have the right targets: 30% reduction below 1990 levels by 2020; 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.

  • Ensure Canada meets and beats its first phase (6% by 2012) Kyoto target!

  • Keep up the pressure so the next US Administration will get on board!!

  • By the way, would you please consider joining a public interest organization working on climate change issues in Canada? We really need your help. (Check out the links section of the Climate Action Network Canada site for a partial list of organizations. If you’re interested in joining Sierra Club of Canada, check out

Elizabeth May was Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada from 1992 to 2006. You can read her "Planetary Citizen’s Guide to the Global Climate Negotiations" here

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