Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are gases that accumulate in the atmosphere and prevent heat from radiating from the Earth`s surface into space, creating the so-called greenhouse effect. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the leading international scientific body working on the issue, the concentration of these heat storage gases has increased dramatically since pre-industrial times to levels not seen in at least 800,000 years. Carbon dioxide (the main cause of climate change) has increased by 40%, nitrous oxide by 20% and methane by 150% since 1750 – mainly from the combustion of dirty fossil fuels. The IPCC says it is “extremely likely” that these emissions are mainly responsible for the rise in global temperatures since the 1950s. At the same time, deforestation and forest degradation have also contributed to their fair share of global carbon emissions. Prioritization: Developing countries, particularly in Africa, must also identify priority sectors based on their development aspirations and challenges and integrate climate change concerns into relevant policies and strategies. Priority should be given to addressing the adaptation and resilience challenges facing the energy, manufacturing and agriculture sectors. The priority sectors should remain: energy, agriculture and forestry, especially agriculture, as it is the backbone of many African economies. The time has come to discuss agriculture and related issues within the framework of the UNFCCC. Therefore, developing countries should prepare their contributions on agriculture to the Scientific and Technological Advisory Group for discussion at the workshop scheduled for June 2016. Paris Agreement, 2015. The largest global climate agreement to date, the Paris Agreement, requires all countries to make commitments to reduce emissions.
Governments set targets, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, with the aim of preventing the global average temperature from rising by 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels and striving to keep it below 1.5°C (2.7°F). It also aims to achieve net-zero global emissions in the second half of the century, when the amount of greenhouse gases emitted is equal to the amount removed from the atmosphere. (This is also known as carbon neutral or carbon neutral.) It is rare that there is consensus among almost all nations on a single issue. But with the Paris Agreement, world leaders agreed that climate change is driven by human behavior, that it poses a threat to the environment and all of humanity, and that global action is needed to stop it. A clear framework has also been put in place for all countries to make commitments to reduce emissions and strengthen these measures over time. Here are some key reasons why the agreement is so important: Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which sets legally binding emission reduction targets (as well as sanctions for non-compliance) only for developed countries, the Paris Agreement requires all countries – rich, poor, developed and developed – to do their part and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To this end, greater flexibility is built into the Paris Agreement: it does not include language in the commitments that countries should make, countries can voluntarily set their emission targets (NDCs) and countries are not penalized if they do not meet the proposed targets. What the Paris Agreement requires, however, is monitoring, reporting, and reassessing countries` individual and collective goals over time in order to bring the world closer to the broader goals of the agreement. And the agreement stipulates that countries must announce their next set of targets every five years – unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which aimed at that target but did not contain a specific requirement to achieve it.
Unlike the current UNFCCC transparency system, which imposes different requirements on developed and developing countries, the new transparency framework will apply to all countries, but will offer “built-in flexibility” to accommodate different national capacities. The goal is for all parties to work towards establishing the same standards of accountability that build capacity over time. To date, negotiations on the settlement have not gone smoothly, although it is time to get it right. The absence of the United States at the political level is problematic, but not the only problem. Many developing countries are concerned about what is expected of them in areas such as reporting and review. Others try, unnecessarily, to restore as much as possible from the old firewall. And uncertainty about donors` financial contributions creates fear. Although developed countries are not legally required to contribute a certain amount to the mitigation and adaptation efforts of developing countries, they are encouraged to provide financial support and are required to report on the financial resources they have provided or mobilized.
The initial commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was until 2012. This year, delegates at COP18 in Doha, Qatar, agreed to extend the agreement until 2020 (excluding some developed countries that had withdrawn). They also reaffirmed their 2011 commitment at COP17 in Durban, South Africa, to create a new comprehensive climate agreement by 2015 that would commit all major emitters not covered by the Kyoto Protocol – such as China, India and the United States – to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The new treaty – the future Paris Agreement – is expected to completely replace the Kyoto Protocol by 2020. However, the Paris Agreement entered into force earlier than expected, in November 2016. .