Saturday, June 4, 2016

Climate Change Regime 101

Climate Change Regime: The Basics

The biggest and one of the most important organizations that plays a significant role in climate change regime is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC entered into force on the 21st of March 1994. At the moment it has near universal membership of 197 countries that have ratified the convention hence called Parties to the Convention.

The UNFCCC is a Rio Convention. The Rio Convention refers to three conventions that were adapted as a result of conclusion of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. These are: the Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the Convention to Combat  Desertification (CCD).

The Rio Earth Summit of 1994 also known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) was one of the first conferences that acknowledged that the environment plays a significant role and its protection was absolutely mandatory. The Earth summit resulted in (i) the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (the future we want and the concept of sustainable development), the Agenda 21 and the Forest Principles.

Although the convention on Climate Change was adapted in 1992, it was only in 1994 that the UNFCCC entered into force with the enormous force of preventing “dangerous” human interference with the climate system is the ultimate aim of the UNFCCC.

The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations "at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system." It states that "such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner."