UN Climate Change Conferences

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2021-12-05 16:04:46

Credit: pixabay.com

Credit: pixabay.com

Climate change is the long-term alteration of human living friendly parameters on Earth. Climate change on our living planet earth has already acquired tremendous warning level and many of its un-wanted consequences like rising pollution level, ozone layer depletion, smog formation, rising temperature/global warming, melting of ice glaciers; rising sea levels and ocean acidification etc. have attracted the attention of planners, scientists and people.

The climate change is assigned to various man-made activities like: increasing industries, use of technology for comfort, vehicular traffic, use of  fossil fuels for power generation, increasing agriculture,decreasing plantation or deforestation, construction, and many more. Climate change is already showing its un-wanted effects of living organisms on the earth from human-animals-plants.

Every person to nation all over the world feels concerned about the increasing undesired levels in climate change but contributing very minimum to control the same. For climate change, we are only blaming each other and do not want to sacrifice our growth for comfort and supremacy on the earth. This is very true at an individual or national level.  Developed individuals and nations are asking the developing and under developed individuals and nations to exercise a control over climate/environment affecting activities. This means to be content without further development because development activities are solely responsible for climate change.

To make a progress towards environmental friendly development, the United Nations Climate Change Conferences are yearly conferences held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They serve as the formal meeting of the UNFCCC parties (Conference of the Parties, COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change.  These conferences began in 1995 to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Starting in 2005 the conferences have also served as the "Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol" (CMP); also parties to the convention that are not parties to the protocol can participate in protocol-related meetings as observers. From 2011 to 2015 the meetings were used to negotiate the Paris Agreement as part of the Durban platform, which created a general path towards climate action. Any final text of a COP must be agreed by consensus.

The first UN Climate Change Conference was held in 1995 in Berlin and the latest COP 26 was originally scheduled to take place from 9 to 19 November 2020, in Glasgow, United Kingdom, but took place on 31 October to 12 November 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These conferences serve as the formal meeting of the UNFCCC parties (Conference of the Parties, COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change and to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Conducting these conferences on yearly basis from 1995 onwards, the results to create awareness about climate change are appreciable but making the nations to develop strategies and their implementation to check climate change have not resulted any significant outcome. There have been 25 conferences under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since the body first met in 1995. Over that period, some 894 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, about 37% of all greenhouse pollution in human history, has been emitted. It is said that the negotiations made during these conferences are too long, complicated and difficult to understand. With up to 195 Parties involved in drafting and agreeing COP decisions it is not surprising that decisions can become unclear and confusing. Complicated words and expressions have become routine. Other Parties might be very surprised if one Party suggested text in a different style (they might even suspect a hidden motive). Sometimes it may be important for some Parties that certain wording is repeated many times as reassurance that their point of view is taken into account. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that these conferences have measurably failed to stop climate change.

The official negotiations take place over two weeks, the first week includes technical negotiations by government officials, followed by high-level Ministerial and Heads of State meetings in the second week to make the final decisions. There are four main points which were discussed during the conference:

1.     Secure global net zero emission of Carbon dioxide by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

2.     Adapt more to protect communities and natural habitats

3.     Mobilize finance

4.     Work together to deliver


The COP26 summit once again brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change but it is a surprise to no one-or no one familiar with climate diplomacy-that the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) has failed to produce a significant agreement on addressing the climate crisis. The biggest thing that needed to come out of these conferences was action, and that didn’t happen. For decades, politicians and global leaders have been using words to shift blame and assuage our climate fears. In general, countries—i.e. politicians—and companies—i.e. shareholders—are going to place power, profits and convenience over the environmental good. Global leaders know about climate change, and have made the intentional choice to do nothing or actively fight against climate action. Since the international community is failing us, it is time to turn to our state and local governments. The fact is, global agreements are our best hope for addressing climate change. We can continue our fight to protect the global commons with renewed efforts to protect the common good of ours at local level following, “think globally and act locally”.