The first World Climate Conference was held in 1979, and the issue of climate change has appeared with ever greater frequency in news publications around the world since then.
At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was negotiated and as of 2011 is signed by 194 parties. The purpose of the treaty was to assess how all parties who had signed it could work together to limit global average temperature increases and deal with the implications of climate change.
This year, the UNFCCC will run from the 26th of November until the 7th of December in Doha, Qatar. Industrialised countries and developing countries will be attending this year’s Convention to discuss its progress and in particular, the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
The UNFCCC treaty signed at the Earth Summit in 1992 was not a binding treaty. Its purpose was merely to encourage industrialised countries to stabilise their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, the Kyoto Protocol, which is the main treaty of the UNFCCC, sets binding targets for these countries to reduce their GHG emissions. This year marks the end of the first commitment period of this Protocol and in Doha this year, the new framework for the second commitment period of this Protocol will be addressed. This will be the central point of discussion at this year’s Convention.
The main objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilise global GHG emissions. This is something we can all contribute towards. To get inspired, take a look at the “Lighthouse Activities” selected by the UNFCCC Momentum for Change initiative (a public platform that highlights climate change actions which are receiving tangible results). You can also create your own UNFCCC Watch List to keep up to date on UNFCCC news.
Let’s hope that this year’s Convention will make deliverable promises.
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