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The Top 5 Climate Decisions That Have Changed the World

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How Have Climate Accords Changed the World?

Major climate agreements have had a dramatic and alarming impact on the state of the planet. From the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, to the failure to address and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, these decisions have contributed to the climate crisis we are currently facing.

The consequences of these decisions can be seen in the rising sea levels, more frequent and severe natural disasters, and the loss of biodiversity. It is critical that we take action now to address the root causes of climate change and work towards a sustainable future.

The good news is that there are solutions available and it is not too late to make a difference. By coming together and making informed, responsible decisions, we can work towards a more stable and healthy planet for generations to come.

the-top-5-climate-decisions-that-have-changed-the-world

1. The UNFCCC

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It's an international treaty that sets out a framework for addressing climate change. It has been ratified by nearly all countries and is the basis for international negotiations on climate action.

Benefits

  • The UNFCCC has helped to build a global consensus on the need to address climate change.
  • It has established a common platform for countries to share information, technology, and best practices on climate action.
  • It has provided a framework for international negotiations on climate action, such as the Paris Agreement.
  • The UNFCCC has helped to raise awareness about the issue of climate change and the need for international cooperation to address it. The treaty has also established a framework for international cooperation on climate change, including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which has supported over 8,000 emission reduction projects in developing countries. These projects have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 1.7 billion tons of CO2 equivalent and have contributed to sustainable development in host countries.

Major signatory countries: Nearly all countries

2. The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 at the Third Conference of the Parties (COP 3) to the UNFCCC in Kyoto, Japan. It is an international treaty that sets binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries. It has been ratified by over 190 countries.

Benefits

  • The Kyoto Protocol established binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for developed countries.
  • It established a market-based mechanism, called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which enables developed countries to meet their emission reduction targets by investing in emission reduction projects in developing countries.
  • For example, the European Union’s emissions decreased by 22% between 1990 and 2018, and Japan’s emissions decreased by 19% over the same period. The treaty’s mechanisms, including the Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the Joint Implementation (JI) mechanism, have also supported emission reduction projects in developing countries and have contributed to sustainable development in host countries.

Major signatory countries: Over 190 countries

the-top-5-climate-decisions-that-have-changed-the-world

3. The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015 at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC in Paris, France. It is a legally binding agreement that aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The agreement has been ratified by over 190 countries.

Benefits

  • The Paris Agreement provides a clear and ambitious target for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It establishes a framework for countries to cooperate on climate action and to support each other in achieving their climate goals.
  • It provides a mechanism for tracking and enhancing the implementation of climate action plans.
  • It enables countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to build resilience to future risks.
  • The Paris Agreement has set a long-term goal of keeping the global temperature increase well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is expected to significantly reduce the negative impacts of climate change. The agreement has also encouraged countries to set their own ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). According to the United Nations, if all countries implement their NDCs, global warming could be limited to 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100. The agreement also provides a mechanism for regularly reviewing and strengthening countries’ NDCs over time, which is expected to lead to further emissions reductions in the future.

Major signatory countries: Over 190 countries

the-top-5-climate-decisions-that-have-changed-the-world

4. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was adopted in 2016 at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda. It aims to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases. The amendment has been ratified by over 80 countries.

Benefits

  • The Kigali Amendment aims to reduce the use of HFCs, which are potent greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
  • It establishes a timeline for phasing down the use of HFCs and provides a mechanism for developed countries to provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries to facilitate the transition to climate-friendly alternatives.
  • The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is expected to avoid up to 0.4 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of the century by phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases. The amendment has been ratified by 98 countries and is expected to result in a reduction of up to 87 billion tons of CO2 equivalent by 2050.

Major signatory countries: Over 80 countries

5. The New York Declaration on Forests

The New York Declaration on Forests was adopted in 2014 at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, USA. It is a voluntary commitment by governments, civil society, the private sector, and indigenous peoples to halve the loss of natural forests globally by 2020 and to end it by 2030. The declaration has been endorsed by over 190 countries and over 70 organizations.

Benefits

  • The New York Declaration on Forests sets ambitious targets for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, which are major sources of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It promotes the restoration of degraded forests and the expansion of forests through reforestation and afforestation.
  • It recognizes the role of forests in providing a range of ecosystem services, such as maintaining biodiversity, protecting water resources, and supporting the livelihoods of millions of people.
  • According to the United Nations, the rate of deforestation has decreased by more than 50% in countries that have adopted the declaration’s goals, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The declaration also aims to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land by 2020, which would provide numerous environmental, social, and economic benefits. Additionally, the declaration’s goals are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 6 billion tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030, which is equivalent to taking all the cars in the world off the road for nearly three years.

Major signatory countries: Over 190 countries

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