“Climate change is a complex problem, which, although environmental in nature, has consequences for all spheres of existence on our planet. It either impacts on – or is impacted by – global issues, including poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management.”
International response to climate change began in 1979, when the first World Climate Conference (WCC) took place. Almost 35 years later, it seems as if the state of international affairs regarding climate change is rather concerning…
The 19th Conference of the Parties is currently taking place in Warsaw, Poland and will culminate tomorrow, November 22nd. Yesterday, a group of 133 countries walked out of the conference on the Loss and Damage mechanism because developed nations have refused to agree to its terms. The Loss and Damage mechanism was created in last year’s conference in Doha. It sets out that developed nations are to provide financial assistance to developing nations as compensation for greenhouse gases caused by their industrialization.
In 1991, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee adopted the text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty through which different nations join in an agreement “to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.” The UNFCCC entered into force in 1994 and in 1995, the first Conference of the Parties took place. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was developed under the UNFCCC’s charter.
There is an immense amount of work that is yet to be done. The UNFCCC does not set any binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual nations. It does not contain enforcement mechanisms. Technically it is a legally non-binding treaty. The focus of the treaty is simply to provide a framework for negotiating protocols that set binding limits on greenhouse gases. Unlike the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets.
An occurrence like the one that took place yesterday at the conference is rather concerning. The conference is a place where our world’s nations are to come to agreements and should be past a stage of pointing fingers. Climate change is an issue concerning people. Our world is changing and the people, particularly those already tragically affected by these changes, require our world to come together and really address global climate issues in an efficient and responsible manner.
What do you think? I think that the purpose behind these international meetings and conferences is to implement change. I believe that our world’s nations, especially developed ones, need to work together not simply because they need to take responsibility for their greenhouse has emissions, but because something needs to be done now. What do you suggest the international community should do? Do you think these Conferences are living up to their standards?