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Knowing COP as a COP for Climate offenders.

Uncover the genesis, essential roles, significant treaties, and key mechanisms that shape global efforts in addressing climate change.

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is a central facilitation and decision-making body of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). COP meetings bring together representatives from countries around the world to discuss and negotiate efforts to combat climate change. During its sessions, the COP evaluates the Convention's implementation, reviews legal instruments, and makes decisions to enhance effective implementation, encompassing institutional and administrative aspects.

This comic strip highlights the collaboration between a traditional crime cop and a cop focusing on climate action, emphasizing the importance of addressing various challenges for a safer and sustainable community.


  • The UNFCCC, adopted in 1992, set the framework for international cooperation to combat climate change.

  • The COP was established as the supreme decision-making body of the UNFCCC during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Main Members:

  • All countries that are parties to the UNFCCC are eligible to participate in the COP.

  • As of 2023, there are 197 parties to the UNFCCC, including 196 countries and the European Union

Rotating Presidency:

  • The COP presidency rotates among the five regional groups of the United Nations: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Europe and Others.

  • Each COP presidency holds office until the next COP meeting.

Role and Functions of COP

  • COP meetings serve as a platform for countries to assess progress in dealing with climate change, negotiate agreements, and set future targets.

  • They play a crucial role in shaping international climate policies, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

  • COP meetings also involve discussions on financial and technological support for developing countries to address climate change challenges.

  • Examine the national communications and emission inventories provided by the Parties. Utilizing this data, the COP evaluates the impact of the measures implemented by Parties and assesses the progress made toward realizing the ultimate goal of the Convention.

Kyoto Protocol

  • Adopted in Kyoto, Japan.

  • First legally binding treaty addressing climate change, is more like a rulebook for countries to fight climate change together.

  • Set binding emission reduction targets for developed countries

  • It set specific targets for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, kind of like a promise to pollute less.

  • introduced three market-based mechanisms - Emissions Trading, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and Joint Implementation (JI).

  • Allowed countries to earn and trade carbon credits through these mechanisms.

Paris Agreement

  • Adopted in Paris during

  • the 21st COP in 2015, known as COP21

  • Became the focal point of subsequent COP meetings, with countries working to enhance their climate commitments.

  • Aim to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.

  • Each country made its promises (Nationally Determined Contributions) on how much they would cut emissions.

  • While NDCs are voluntary, the Agreement has a binding legal framework.

  • Establishes the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

Market-based Mechanisms to Combat Climate Change

In short. Emissions trading focuses on trading emission permits to achieve overall reductions, CDM encourages emission reduction projects in developing nations, and JI involves collaboration between developed countries for emission reduction projects. In summary, while all three mechanisms involve addressing emissions, they differ in terms of participants, project locations, targets, credits generated, geographical distribution, and continuity under the Paris Agreement.

This comic strip explains cap and trade- You can buy some of your friend's chips (countries/industries), and both of you keep playing. It's like a win-win gamble for a greener game!

Emission Trading (Cap-and-Trade)

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Joint Implementation (JI)

Scope and Participants:

Involves the trading of emissions allowances or permits among industries or countries with an overall cap on emissions. Participants can buy and sell permits to comply with their emission reduction targets.

Involves developed countries investing in emission reduction projects in developing countries to earn Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).

Involves collaboration between developed countries, where one country invests in emission reduction projects in another developed country and earns Emission Reduction Units (ERUs).

Project location:

Primarily domestic, within a country or among industries within the same country.

Projects are located in developing countries, focusing on sustainable development and emission reduction.

Projects involve collaboration between developed countries.

Participants' Targets:

Participants aim to meet their overall emission reduction targets within the allocated allowances.

Developed countries invest in projects to earn CERs that contribute to meeting their own emission reduction commitments.

Collaboration between developed countries allows for joint efforts to achieve emission reduction targets.

Credits/Units Generated:

No specific credits are generated; instead, participants trade emission allowances or permits

Generates Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) that can be used by the investing developed country or traded on the international market.

Generates Emission Reduction Units (ERUs), which can be used by the investing developed country to meet its emission reduction commitments.

Geographical Distribution

Can be both domestic and international, depending on the trading system

Primarily international, with projects located in developing countries.

Involves international collaboration between developed countries.

Continuity Under the Paris Agreement:

The concept continues under the Paris Agreement, particularly in Article 6, which addresses market mechanisms.

CDM itself is not continued under the Paris Agreement, similar cooperative mechanisms are being considered under Article 6.

Similar to the CDM, Joint Implementation is not directly continued under the Paris Agreement, and negotiations continue under Article 6.

What is the difference between COP and CMP?

COP (Conference of the Parties):

  • Purpose: COP meetings bring together representatives from countries that are Parties to the UNFCCC to assess progress, negotiate agreements, and make decisions on addressing climate change.

  • Frequency: COP meetings are held annually.

CMP (Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol):

  • Purpose: The CMP oversees the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty linked to the UNFCCC that sets binding emission reduction targets for developed countries.

  • Frequency: CMP meetings are held in conjunction with COP meetings.

In summary, COP is the broader conference that addresses climate change under the UNFCCC, while CMP is a specialized meeting held in conjunction with COP to specifically address matters related to the Kyoto Protocol. The distinction reflects the different tracks within international climate negotiations, with COP dealing with a broader range of climate issues and CMP focusing on commitments and actions under the Kyoto Protocol.


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