Climate policy at 30: Glasgow Climate Pact. | Foley Hoag LLP – Energy and Clean Technology Consulting
Every year since 1995, with the exception of 2020, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hosted a Conference of the Parties (COP), where UNFCCC members negotiate issues relating to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other issues related to climate change. 26and The COP concluded in Glasgow on 13 November with a Climate Pact which continues the evolution of global climate policy over the past 30 years.
The UNFCCC was created by the Agreement at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Convention gave the UNFCCC a basis mission: stabilize “greenhouse gas emissions at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. It contained guidelines for developed countries to adopt national policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of returning greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels at some unspecified date in the future.
The UNFCCC began convening COPs in 1995. COP1 established the “Berlin Mandatewhich declared parts of the 1992 Convention “inadequate” and stressed the importance of setting clear deadlines for achieving the objectives of the Convention, as well as further emphasizing the greater role that developed nations must play. The Berlin Mandate led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, adopted at COP3. The Kyoto Protocol focused on reducing emissions and increasing contributions from wealthier countries, setting a global emissions reduction target of 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.
the Paris Agreement followed at COP21 in 2015 and introduced a goal of keeping the global temperature increase below 2°C, as well as continuing efforts to limit the temperature to 1.5°C. He underscored the need for mitigation and adaptation measures and the need for financial contributions, technology transfer and capacity building by developed countries to developing countries.
November’s COP26 ended with the “Glasgow Climate Pact”. The Pact is committed to maintaining the 1.5°C target identified in the Paris Agreement with larger and more specific commitments to tackle climate change.
- Mitigation: The Pact reaffirms the objective of keeping the rise in temperatures below 2°C and continuing efforts to contain the rise to 1.5° It calls for CO2 emissions to be reduced by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and for CO2 emissions to reach “net zero” by “around the middle of the century”. It also encourages parties to reduce methane emissions by 2030.
- Funding, technology transfer and capacity building: The Pact calls on developed countries to provide more support to developing countries (in particular, more than 100 billion dollars per year).
- Adaptation and “loss and damage”: The Compact urges developed countries to provide more funds to developing countries to adapt to climate change. The Compact further recognizes that damage has already occurred and urges developed countries to further support developing countries in their efforts to avoid, minimize and address loss and damage from climate change.
- Collaboration: The Pact encourages international collaborations of all kinds to contribute to progress in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact.
COP27 is currently scheduled for November 2022 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where these conversations will no doubt continue.