United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international treaty that was negotiated in 1992 and came into force in 1994. The goal of the treaty is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. 

One of the main ways that parties to the treaty aim to achieve this goal is by reducing their carbon emissions. However, it is not always possible or practical for individual countries to reduce their emissions on their own. To help countries meet their emissions targets, the treaty allows for the trading of carbon credits. 

Carbon Credits 

Carbon credits are certificates that represent one tonne of carbon dioxide that has been prevented from entering the atmosphere. Countries can earn carbon credits by implementing projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as installing solar panels or wind turbines. They can then sell these credits to other countries that need them to meet their emissions targets. 

Carbon Offsetting 

Xeero Carbon Offsets
Xeero | Carbon Marketplace

Another way of reducing carbon emissions is through carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting is when a person or company pays to have a project implemented that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as planting trees or installing wind turbines. The idea is that the person or company offsets the emissions that they are responsible for by funding projects that reduce emissions elsewhere. 

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an important treaty in the fight against climate change and has helped to spur the development of carbon markets. These markets are essential in helping countries meet their emissions targets and slow the effects of climate change. 

The United Nations has also committed to 17 sustainable development goals including Goal 13: Climate Action. This goal aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and ensure that we keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. But why 1.5 degrees Celsius? 

The 1.5-degree Celsius target was agreed upon at the Paris Agreement in 2015. This is the temperature threshold above which we are in danger of catastrophic and irreversible changes to the climate system. Achieving the 1.5-degree Celsius target is essential if we want to avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. However, it will not be easy and will require significant reductions in emissions from all sectors of society. 

Paris Agreement 

The Paris Agreement is an important international agreement that was negotiated in 2015. The agreement builds on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and sets out a plan for how we can avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change. The agreement is voluntary, and countries are not legally bound to meet their emissions targets. However, the Paris Agreement is a major step forward in the fight against climate change and provides a framework for countries to work together to reduce emissions. 

The Paris Agreement builds on the successes of the Kyoto Protocol and sets out a new, stronger framework for combating climate change. The Agreement is based on the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities. This means that all countries have a responsibility to combat climate change, but developed countries have a greater responsibility because they have emitted more greenhouse gases in the past.  

The Agreement also includes a provision for finance, which means that developed countries must provide financial assistance to developing countries to help them transition to a low-carbon economy. 

Kyoto Protocol 

The Kyoto Protocol is another important international agreement that was negotiated in 1997. The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and sets binding emissions targets for developed countries. The Kyoto Protocol was the first time that binding emissions targets were set at an international level and was a key step forward in the fight against climate change. However, the Protocol has not been without its criticisms and did not include binding targets for developing countries. 

Greenhouse Gases & Climate Change

Factory Emissions and climate change
Factory Emissions (Source: Unsplash)

A greenhouse gas is a gas that traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The most common greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor. Greenhouse gases are important because they trap energy from the sun and allow it to warm the Earth. Without greenhouse gases, the Earth would be much colder, and we would not be able to live on it. 

However, too much of these gases can have harmful effects on the environment. When too much energy is trapped in the atmosphere, it causes the Earth to warm up and this leads to climate change. Greenhouse gases are also responsible for the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise in sea levels. 

Emissions & Climate Change

Emissions are the amount of greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere. Emissions can come from a variety of sources, including power plants, transportation, agriculture, and manufacturing. The most common greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide and emissions from these sources are often referred to as carbon emissions. 

Emissions Mitigation 

Mitigation is the process of reducing emissions from these sources. Mitigation can be done through a variety of methods, including energy efficiency measures, renewable energy and carbon capture and storage. Carbon capture and storage is a process where carbon dioxide is captured from power plants and stored underground in order to reduce its impact on the climate. 

Climate Change 

Climate change is the long-term alteration of temperature and typical weather patterns in a place. Climate change could refer to a particular location or the planet as a whole. Climate change has been connected with damaging weather events such as more frequent and more intense hurricanes, floods, downpours, and winter storms.  

Together with expanding ocean waters due to rising temperatures melting polar ice, the resulting rise in sea level has begun to damage coastlines and displacement of human populations, notably in low-lying island states. Adaptation is the process of adapting to the effects of climate change. Adaptation can be done through a variety of methods, including changing agricultural practices, building resilience into infrastructure, and preparing for extreme weather events. 

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