COP 2 Geneva

Took place from in 8-19 July 1996.  Was a ‘way point’ in the meetings of the Ad hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate, leading to an agreed deal for COP 3.  Notable for the US having modified its opposition to emissions targets (Clinton needed to get re-elected).

As wikipedia says –

Its Ministerial Declaration was noted (but not adopted) on July 18, 1996, and reflected a U.S. position statement presented by Timothy Wirth, former Under Secretary for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department at that meeting, which:

  1. Accepted the scientific findings on climate change proffered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its second assessment (1995);

  2. Rejected uniform “harmonized policies” in favor of flexibility;

  3. Called for “legally binding mid-term targets”.

The ENB summary:

Australia’s position, action:

CFMEU there (according to an E-Coal article), along with AIGN, I presume. Pushing the case for Australian exceptionalism, probably wandering about with ABARE/MEGABARE numbers…  Aussies pissed off that US had shifted, because it left them isolated (making common cause with OPEC countries and Nigeria)

“Policy shifted under Keating, at the First Conference of Parties (COP1) to the UNFCCC in Berlin, in 1995, with Australia fighting targets, emphasizing costs, calling for differentiation, and no longer accepting developed nation responsibility. Australia’s “leader to laggard” shift was entrenched at the 1996 COP2 in Geneva by the newly elected Howard coalition government. Australia made a serious effort, with an attitude noted as positively hostile, to derail the Kyoto process, questioning IPCC science, opposing legally binding targets and advocating differentiation for itself.47
Crowley, K. 2007. Is Australia Faking It?
Macdonald 2005a, 225.
Macdonald, Matt. 2005a. Fair Weather Friend? Ethics and Australia’s Approach to Climate
Change. Australian Journal of Politics and History 51 (2): 216–234.
“The discussions at the second COP to the UNFCCC in Geneva in 1996 saw Australia establish itself as a climate change laggard. Immediately before the conference the government questioned the science of climate change and opposed the idea of the IPCC’s new conclusions on climate change impacts providing the basis for negotiations.55 Significantly, they were joined in this concern only by OPEC states and the Russian Federation.56 Most importantly, however, the government’s position at the Geneva negotiations was to oppose the idea of legally binding targets on greenhouse emissions.57”

Macdonald, Matt. 2005a. Fair Weather Friend? Ethics and Australia’s Approach to Climate Change. Australian Journal of Politics and History 51 (2): 216–234.


The Minister for the Environment, Senator Hill, told the summit Australia believed it would be premature “to identify a particular point at which greenhouse gas concentrations might constitute dangerous human interference”. “We believe that neither the science nor the assessment of impacts are yet sufficiently advanced to nominate a specific level,” he said.

Gordon, M. 1996. Howard stands firm on mandatory gas targets. The Australian, 19 July, p.4

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