The Role of the UCS in International Climate Meetings

UCS Director of Strategy and Policy Alden Meyer was a featured panelist at two Climate Action Network press conferences at the U.N. climate negotiations in Cancún.

UCS regularly sends teams of policy experts, scientists, and climate economists to international climate treaty negotiations. The most prominent of these is the annual Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).

COP is the highest body of the UNFCCC and consists of environment ministers who meet every winter to try to negotiate climate treaty language that all parties can agree on.

UCS and other nonprofit organizations attend these COPs to influence the negotiations, similar to the ways we try to influence climate legislation before the U.S. Congress and other governing bodies. While each COP is slightly different, our role typically involves:

  • Coordinating with other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure that the treaty text being negotiated is strong and includes the most up-to-date science.
  • Attending official meetings with the delegations to share the concerns and requests of citizens and scientists on key issues and the need to address climate change.
  • Following and analyzing the negotiations to provide updated information to country delegates and other NGOs.
  • Acting as a media resource. UCS sends a media team to each COP to provide information about the meetings to the world press and arrange for interviews and quotes from UCS scientists.

Past and Future International Climate Meetings

  • COP 17 - Durban, South Africa
    COP 17 was held in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9, 2011. The goal of this meeting was to continue to determine the next steps in addressing climate change internationally after the Kyoto Protocol’s first reduction period ends in 2012. A UCS delegation of scientists, policy experts, and media specialists attended the meeting. Read more about the Durban COP on our blog.

  • COP 16 - Cancún, Mexico
    COP 16 was held in Cancún, Mexico in November-December, 2010. While the COP fell short of what is needed, there were some identifiable successes, most notably on preserving tropical forests and agreeing to create a Green Climate Fund to encourage support for developing country actions to constrain emissions and cope with the mounting impacts of climate change.

  • COP 15 - Copenhagen, Denmark
    COP 15, held in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009, produced the Copenhagen Accord



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