Philaso G. Kaping
The alarming state of climate change, which began to manifest itself in late 1980s, pushed world leaders to try to take affirmative steps for mitigating the effects of climate change and ways of adaptation while effectively sustaining the world’s economy. This led to the United Nations convening a global meet in Brazil in 1992.
Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was attended by 108 heads of state or government, representatives of NGOs and experts to bring about policies and plans to prevent or mitigate the alarming situation of the earth’s climate and environment caused by human activities. The summit led to the formation of an international environmental treaty called United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The first UNFCCC Conference of Parties was held in March 1995 Berlin, Germany. Thereafter, the COP has met sixteen times in different countries till date. Some of the most significant and important are the Tokyo Summit, Bali meet, Copenhagen meet and Cancun meet.
COP 3, 1997, Tokyo, Japan
This COP is regarded as a landmark in UNFCCC`s history as it produced the Kyoto Protocol, which is the foundation and guide to frame polices and plans for the parties involved. The Protocol set binding obligations on industrialized countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and introduced new mechanisms to bring about sustainable development such emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation. At least 37 industrialized countries and European countries in transition agreed to reducing GHG emissions at an average of 5% against 1990 levels between the years 2008-2012.
COP 13, 2007, Bali, Indonesia
The COP adopted Bali Roadmap to facilitate the process of negotiations to tackle climate change. It includes the Bali Action Plan, which is a set of negotiating process to enable long-term co-operative action among the members.
The BAP included working with shared vision to mitigate the effects of climate change and funding the adaptation of people in developing countries, transfer of technology and financing to bring about sustainable development and reduce emissions.
COP 15, Copenhagen, Denmark
The COP 15 started out to achieve a global agreement after the expiration of commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol in 2012. However, many governments were reluctant to come to an agreement and the Copenhagen Accord was adopted. The Accord advanced the commitment by developed countries on providing infrastructures needed for efficient functioning of adaptation programmes of developing countries.
COP 16, Cancun, Mexico
The meeting resulted in an impressive response to climate change. The Parties recognised that global warming is scientifically based and agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the maximum temperature rise to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The parties agreed to a “Green Climate Fund," for assisting developing countries in reducing GHG emissions and coping with climate change effects. Establishing a ‘Climate Technology Centre’ and Adaptation Committee was also agreed upon to facilitate innovation, development and spread of eco-friendly technologies and for efficient implementation of adaptation programmes.