According to Yvo de Boer, head of the conference secretariat,
the conference ha[s] four main tasks: establishing the adaptation fund, finding ways to improve the sharing of low-carbon energy technologies, continuing discussions on what emissions targets to set after the Kyoto Protocol runs out in 2012; and developing carbon trading.The adaptation fund would provide financial assistance for the world's poorest countries, hoping to buy coastal protection, drought-resistant crops and aid to ecological refugees for some of the most vulnerable victims of climate change. It bears repeating: disaster is never natural.
The Nairobi conference hopes to reform the existing Clean Development Mechanism for carbon trading, established by the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM credits companies in industrialized countries to gain "carbon credits" by exporting emission-reducing technology to poorer countries. The New Scientist describes projects such as wind power in India and methane emission reduction from landfills in Brazil. India and Brazil, however, are hardly the world's poorest countries. According to its critics, CDM merely chases money in rapidly developing countries.
The Nairobi conference may also consider Brazil's plan to allow countries to benefit from protecting existing rainforests. The Kyoto Protocol directs most of its incentives toward the planting of new forests; this treaty's failure to provide incentives for protecting existing forests does not contribute significantly to reducing the estimated one-fifth of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere attributable to deforestation.