Iceland ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1993, as well as the Kyoto Protocol in 2002. Icelandic authorities believe that technological developments can play an important role in tackling climate change, not least in the field of energy. The use of available clean technologies should therefore be used much more widely.
A comprehensive report on the impacts of climate change in the Arctic was delivered during the Icelandic Chairmanship of the Arctic Council 2002-2004.
Climate Change Negotiations – COP 15 Copenhagen
Iceland shares with other nations the concern over the threat posed by climate change to the world community and to the earth’s ecosystem. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sends strong warning signals in its most recent assessment report on the effects of climate change (Fourth Assessment Report, 2007). The IPCC’s scientific assessment is that without mitigation, global warming in this century will probably amount to 1.8-4°C. Iceland is among the nations that want to limit global warming to 2°C from pre-industrial levels to avoid the grave consequences of higher temperature increases and the risk of large-scale irreversible effects.
Iceland takes an active part in the global effort to halt climate change. Iceland is a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and to the Kyoto Protocol. In recently adopted climate change strategy, Iceland has set the target of 50-75% cuts in net greenhouse gas emissions as an aspirational goal for 2050. Iceland also takes an active part in the preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Copenhagen, December 7-18, 2009. Iceland views the Copenhagen Conference as a unique opportunity for the world community to join hands in building an effective international cooperation to halt climate change and reduce its impact.
It is the view of Iceland that the international agreement to be concluded in Copenhagen should fully take into account the scientific assessment of the IPCC. To achieve the goal of limiting global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, deep cuts in global emissions are required in the coming decades. Developed countries must of course lead, but this endeavour requires the active participation of all states, in accordance with their ability and national circumstances. Participation of the more advanced developing countries is of vital importance.
Iceland also emphasizes the importance of active participation of all stakeholders of civil society. Iceland attaches particular importance to the active participation of women and incorporation of gender considerations in climate policies and adaptation programmes.
Iceland will assume its fair share of the burden, comparable to those of other industrial countries, taking into account its circumstances and its capabilities to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration. The Government of Iceland has decided to reduce net GHG emissions by 15% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels. This goal is comparable to targets so far presented by other Annex I counties, as in real terms it entails 25% reduction compared to the target ascribed to Iceland in the Kyoto Protocol. This target is dependent upon the continuation of the decisions included in the Marrakech Accords, in particular the continuation of LULUCF and of Decision 14/CP.7.
In the global effort against climate change, Iceland places particular importance on the use of renewable energy resources and new technology in the field of energy and energy efficiency as being key issues to the solution of the climate problem. Iceland has also proposed that restoration of drained and degraded wetlands should be an eligible activity for countries to meet their mitigation commitments. Drained and degraded wetlands are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions from exposed peat and other organic soils that can be reduced or reversed by wetland restoration. Incentives to conserve wetlands and reduce emissions from degraded wetlands are lacking at present.
An increased international support to developing countries and transfer of climate-friendly technology and know-how is required. The focus should in particular be on supporting countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.