What is the ‘conference of parties’, and why you will hear more about it as the year-end approaches?
Understanding The COP 21
It was COP-3, in Kyoto, Japan, that gave rise to the Kyoto Protocol, that placed international obligations on the set of rich and industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by assigned amounts.
The twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) takes place from 30 November to 11 December 2015, in Paris, France.
The COP is an annual meeting, this year it is expected to deliver a major agreement on the action plan for saving the planet from the disastrous consequences of rising average global temperatures.
The term ‘COP’ stands for Conference of Parties. ‘Parties’ is a reference to the (now) 196 signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC, as it is called.
The Framework Convention came into force in 1994, two years after its text was finalised at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Every year since 1994, the ‘parties’ to the UNFCCC have met at different venues at the end of the year to discuss a global agreement to cut emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the main reason why average global temperatures have been rising.
Understanding The COP 21 in context.
The Paris meeting is the 21st in that series, hence the name ‘COP-21’.
The Kyoto Protocol, which came into effect only in 2005, has since run into trouble, with some countries, which were obliged to take emission cuts, having walked out of it.
Though the Protocol continues on paper for the time being, the current negotiations at the COPs are about bringing in an agreement that will demand some kind of action from all countries, not just the rich and industrialised.
The actions expected from the countries are supposed to be in accordance with their capabilities.
An earlier attempt to forge such an agreement was made at COP-15 in Copenhagen in Denmark in 2009, but it failed spectacularly.
After two years of further negotiations, the countries had decided that a global agreement on climate change must be delivered at the COP-21 in Paris in 2015. However, with fewer than 200 days to go for the Paris conference, deep differences persist on several issues, and the frantic pursuit of a compromise continues.
Adaptation to Climate Change, means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise. It has been shown that well planned, early adaptation action saves money and lives later.
Examples of adaptation to climate change measures include: using scarce water resources more efficiently; adapting building codes to future climate conditions and extreme weather events; building flood defences and raising the levels of dykes; developing drought-tolerant crops; choosing tree species and forestry practices less vulnerable to storms and fires; and setting aside land corridors to help species migrate.
Adaptation strategies are needed at all levels of administration: at the local, regional, national, EU and also the international level. Due to the varying severity and nature of climate impacts between regions in Europe, most adaptation initiatives will be taken at the regional or local levels.
The ability to cope and adapt also differs across populations, economic sectors and regions within Europe.
The Commission adopted an EU adaptation strategy in April 2013 which has been welcomed by the Member States. Complementing the activities of Member States, the strategy supports action by promoting greater coordination and information-sharing between Member States, and by ensuring that adaptation considerations are addressed in all relevant EU policies.
The EU’s role can be particularly appropriate when climate change impacts transcend borders of individual states – such as with river basins – and when impacts vary considerably across regions. The role of the EU can be especially useful to enhance solidarity among Member States and ensure that disadvantaged regions and those most affected by climate change are capable of taking the necessary measures to adapt.
Listen to Guillaume, a French environmental researcher on adaptation to climate change, talk about his job, the subject of adaptation to climate change and his background.
Calculate your carbon footprint. Do you know how green you are?
Would you consider that you have a green lifestyle?
If you carried on living like as you are, how many planets would you need to sustain your current lifestyle?
What is your carbon footprint compared to the average person in Europe and in the world ?
Some countries are better at recycling than others, whereas other countries produce a lot of waste but have a low carbon footprint due to low personal car use. What is the situation is your country ?
Are there things that you can and need, to change about your way of life to become more green?
In this podcast listen in particular to how Sue asks the questions and how Chris answers them. Then click on the link to try the WWF questionnaire yourself to see how you measure up; The Footprint challenge.
Since we did the podcast the WWF questions have changed a little. Can you spot the difference ?
And so the year draws to an end…. and so does the decade !
We are constantly bombarded with news and social media events but how much can you actually remember?
This quiz takes a different angle on the traditional end of year quizzes……. we’re sure you know the answer to the straight forward questions but this Thinking Person’s Quiz goes beyond the surface and calls on your wider general knowledge skills, using mathematics, logic, history and of course English vocabulary !
This quiz covers geography, mathematics, English language, history, science, astronomy, chemistry ….. in short, its the total Thinking Person’s Quiz and a great way to improve your general vocabulary.
If you are a teacher, or if you are doing this quiz with a friend, take your time to discus the events, give your opinion and reminisce about the events.
We wish all our learners a happy, positive and successful 2020.
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