iHumanMedia.com reports that the global climate summit in Paris France has drawn a lot of interest from top leaders, scientist and politicians worldwide. Among the heated debates Bill Gates refutes Valdimir Putin on the global impact of climate change and alternative energy sources.
According to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a rise in the global temperature of more than 2°C would have serious consequences, such as an increase in the frequency of extreme climate events. At Copenhagen in 2009, the countries affirmed their goal of limiting global warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
Every state party to the UNFCCC was invited to communicate its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), detailing the steps it is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 or 2030. Some include adaptation measures and requests for climate finance. In early November, the UNFCCC Secretariat will release a synthesis report on the aggregate impact of the INDCs.
Established at COP17 in 2011, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) is mandated to develop “a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force” within the framework of the Convention. This instrument should be adopted in 2015 and enter into force in 2020. That is the goal of COP21.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate (UNFCCC) Change was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The objective is to “stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at a level that will prevent dangerous interference with the climate system”. The UNFCCC Secretariat plays a key role in the organisation of the negotiations. It is located in Bonn, Germany. Christiana Figueres is the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.
Also known as the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA), the Agenda of Solutions seeks to encourage initiatives from civil society (encompassing businesses, NGOs, local and regional governments), governmental organisations and governments, to include both state and non-state actors in tackling climate change. The digital platform, NAZCA (Non-State Actor Zone for Climate Action), has registered almost 4,000 actions to date.
The idea that some climate-change impacts due to sudden-onset events (such as a flood or a hurricane) or slow-onset events (such as sea level rise or ocean acidification) could be avoidable.
Under the authority of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Ecology, the COP21 General Secretariat is tasked with the material and logistical organisation of the conference. The COP21 General Secretary is Pierre Henri Guignard, who also coordinates the communications and civil society teams.
The Green Climate Fund was established at COP16 in Cancún in 2010 to assist developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, and to encourage low-carbon development pathways. The fund is overseen by a Board of 24 members who serve for renewable three-year terms. Two co-chairs are elected from among the members and serve for a period of one year.
Civil society representatives are closely involved in the negotiations and enjoy observer status at the COP. They are split into nine constituencies: business and industry NGOs; environmental NGOs; trade union NGOs; indigenous peoples organisations; women and gender organisations; youth NGOs; farmers; research NGOs; and local government and municipal authorities. Civil society actors can also submit projects for the COP21 label.
Although a small quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) results from natural processes, most are emitted by human activities. Massive use of fossil fuels such as hydrocarbons (coal, gas, oil), deforestation, and intensive grazing and farming produce large quantities of greenhouse gases, which concentrate in the atmosphere. GHG emissions accelerate global warming.
Climate change refers to the increase in the average temperature of the oceans and the Earth’s atmosphere. It is attributed to human activities, which directly or indirectly alter the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere beyond the natural variability of the climate observed over comparable periods.
Renewable energy is energy that comes from sources that are naturally replenished. There are six main types of renewable energy: hydro power, wind, solar, tidal, biomass (e.g. burning organic material, such as agricultural waste, to produce electricity) and geothermal (using the steam produced by the Earth’s internal heat).
COP21 will take place at Paris-Le Bourget. The site is divided into three zones. The negotiations will take place in the conference centre, also known as the “blue zone”. This zone is under the authority of the United Nations and will only be accessible to accredited persons. The Climate Generations Areas will be spaces for discussion and debate open to the public. The Gallery, reserved for professionals, will be a place where businesses can present their solutions for tackling climate change.
The principle of carbon neutrality refers to offsetting greenhouse gas emissions through projects to reduce emissions and/or by buying carbon credits.
Adopted in 1997 and in force since 2005, the Kyoto Protocol set binding greenhouse gas emissions targets for developed countries for the period 2008-2012. The protocol, the only legally binding international instrument, was renewed until 2020.
The energy transition paves the way for the post-oil age and introduces a more robust and sustainable energy model in the context of constrained energy supply, prices for energy, depletion of resources and environmental protection.
The goal of COP21 is to reach a new international agreement on climate that is universal (agreed by and applicable to all countries), ambitious about keeping global warming below 2°C, flexible by taking into account the needs and capabilities of each country, balanced in terms of adaptation and mitigation, and long-lasting, with ambitions revised upward at regular intervals.