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A Window Into International Climate Policy

EmmamHowe MA, United States 0 Ratings 13 Discussions 8 Group posts

Posted by: EmmamHowe // Marketing/Green Policy Development

Since the 1970s, the climate community has worked tirelessly to establish a credible scientific basis for anthropogenic climate change. Though climate change deniers still exist, ever since the International Panel for Climate Change (the IPCC) declared that “observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations,” there has been increasing global recognition of the issue. Yet, this global consensus has not directly led to the implementation of a singular global climate policy, but rather to several fragmented international agreements each varying in degree of success. Below, I have comprised a list of these past climate deals, detailing their scope and degree of success:

The Vienna Convention, 1985: The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer outlines state's’ responsibilities for protecting human health and the environment against the adverse effects of ozone depletion, and it established the framework for the Montreal Protocol.

The Montreal Protocol, 1987: The Montreal Protocol was negotiated and signed by 24 countries and the European Economic Community. The Protocol called for Parties to phase down their use of CFCs, halons, and other man-made ODCs. It has since been ratified by 197 countries (all the United Nation members, as well as Niue, the Cook Islands, the Holy See, and the European Union).

Rio De Janeiro, 1992: Negotiations began with completion of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Countries agreed to voluntarily reduce emissions with “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

Berlin, 1995: This marked the first annual Conference of the Parties to the framework, henceforth called the “COP.” The U.S agrees to exempt developing countries from binding emissions cuts.

Kyoto Protocol, 1997: COP-3 diplomats approve the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol mandates developed countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions relative to baseline emissions by 2008-2012 period.

The Hague, 2000: The outgoing Clinton administration and Europeans differed on various COP-6 terms, especially over credit for carbon sinks like forests and agriculture. There was also disagreement over the responsibility to cut emissions for developed and developing countries. The talks collapsed.

The Bonn, 2001: A second session of the COP-6 talks worked out finance and compliance terms for Kyoto. Since the Bush administration had rejected the Kyoto Protocol, the US was only an “observer” to these talks.

Buenos Aires, 2004: The U.S. blocked formal negotiations for a post-Kyoto treaty. COP-10 diplomats tried, instead, informal talks.

Bali, 2007: COP-13 diplomats approved the schedule for post-Kyoto Negotiations to end in 2009.

Copenhagen, 2009: COP-15 failed to produce a post-Kyoto binding agreement. Instead, the Copenhagen Accord declared the importance of limiting warming to 2°C, but it did set any binding targets or mechanisms. Developed countries pledged to provide financing to developing countries of $30 billion annually, rising up to $100 billion by 2020.

Cancun, 2010: Nations met to work out the details of the “Green Climate Fund” that was agreed upon in Copenhagen.

Durban, 2011: COP-17 participating countries agreed to adopt a universal legal agreement on climate change “as soon as possible” and no later than 2015, which would take effect by 2020.

Doha, 2012: Launched a new commitment period under Kyoto, ensuring that the treaty’s legal and accounting models remain in place, and it underlined the principle that developed countries should lead the action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Warsaw, 2013: Further advanced the Durban Platform, the Green Climate Fund and Long-Term Finance, the Warsaw Framework for REDD, and the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.

Lima, 2014: Agreed to extend the life of Kyoto and set up a framework for Paris talks. In principle, all parties committed to emission cuts, but there were no binding agreements.

Paris, 2015 (COP21): Reaffirmed the goal of limiting global temperature increase to below 2°C, while urging to keep the increase to 1.5°C. Established binding commitments by all parties to make “nationally determined contributions” NDCs that will be renewed every five years. For the first time asks developing countries to contribute to emissions reductions.

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