COP 21: Civil Services Mentor Magazine - February - 2016

COP 21

Climate change is a phenomena which has engulfed life of every one across the world. Now climate of different gegraphical locations is behaving differently to how it used to behave previously. Islands are submurging inside the ocean, monsoon pattern is changing and crop yields etc. Global warming is the primary source of the climate change and green house gases are the main reason which are contributing towards the global warming. International Panel on Climate Change has concluded that majorly global warming is man made disaster. If temp. rise continues to be for long time then it leads to climate change. Increase in earth surface temperature has occured previously also but global warming term is generally attached to increase in temperature by green house gases. Scientists generally agree that the Earth’s surface has warmed by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past 140 years. Industrialised nations for the purpose of industrial growth have cut lot of trees, which has released lot of CO2 into the atmosphere, it is also the major reason for global warming.

International action against climate change started with earth summit of 1992. The UNFCCC is a “Rio Convention”, one of three adopted at the “Rio Earth Summit” in 1992. Its sister Rio Conventions are the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification. The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994. Today 195 countries have ratified the Convention are called Parties to the Convention. Preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system is the ultimate aim of the UNFCCC.The Conference of parties (COP) is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention. All States that are Parties to the Convention are also the members of the COP. COP decides about the policy for climate change and also whether policies are implemented properly or not.

At the COP in 1997 in kyoto, the Kyoto Protocol was agreed. Agreement commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.” The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. It divided countries into three groups of Annex I, Annex II and Annex III. Annex have industrialised nations and responsibility for reduction in GHG is with Annex I countries. Roadmap for Kyoto ended at 2012. COP tried to come up with roadmap for climate change after 2012 but they were not able to succed till Paris. Industrialized nations want that all countries should have the responsibility in reducing the emmission of GHGs. However developing nations want that since industrialized nations are historically responsible for this problem, so they should be made more responsible. Also developing nations wants their chance to grow and take crores of poor out from the poverty.

COP 21 happened in Paris in November 2015. After two weeks of intense negotiations in Paris, 196 nations signed what is being hailed as a ‘landmark’ deal to limit carbon emissions, restrict the rise in global temperatures to below 2 degree C of pre-industrial levels. Before this conference nations submitted their own Nationally determined contributions to UNFCC and it has calculated the total effect on the world. Major points agreed at the conference are:

  • Reiterates its call to developed country Parties, the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism and any other organizations in a position to do so to provide support for the preparation and communication of the intended nationally determined contributions of Parties that may need such support;

  • Notes with concern that the estimated aggregate greenhouse gas emission levels in 2025 and 2030 resulting from the intended nationally determined contributions do not fall within least-cost 2 ÚC scenarios but rather lead to a projected level of 55 gigatonnes in 2030;

  • That much greater emission reduction efforts will be required than those associated with the intended nationally determined contributions;

  • In order to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 ÚC above pre-industrial levels by reducing emissions to 40 gigatonnes or to 1.5 ÚC above pre-industrial levels;

  • Decides to convene a facilitative dialogue among Parties in 2018 to take stock of the collective efforts of Parties in relation to progress towards the long-term goal.

  • Urges those Parties whose intended nationally determined contribution contains a time frame up to 2025 to communicate by 2020 a new nationally determined contribution and to do so every five years thereafter.

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