During the 2nd half of the 20th century, scientists from different parts of the world began to conduct research on the effects that a developing world was having on the environment. They noticed that the temperature, the level of the oceans, and emissions of green house gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere were all on the rise. Although most people did not take climate change seriously, a large number of scientists and leaders tried to put the word out about how people should start taking initiatives to combat climate change before it was too late. In 1987, in an effort to protect the ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol was signed and went into force in 1989.
In 1992 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (CNFCCC) was formed due to the fact that the planet was only getting warmer. Later on in 1997 the Kyoto Protocol was ratified. The Kyoto Protocol’s main aim was to have the developed nations take the lead in limiting and reducing the GHGs emissions. This is because they were the wealthiest nations as well as the main producers of GHGs. The “target” countries were composed of the European Union and 36 as well as other industrialized countries including the United States and Canada. Altogether, these nations had to keep their emissions below the target over a period of time and they had to report their numbers as well. In 2015, the Paris Agreement was signed by 196 nations. In contrast to the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement included all nations. The agreement stated that countries would work together to prevent the world temperature from reaching 2 degrees Celsius before the end of the 21st century, they will aid developing nations in preparing for a changing climate which would require new technologies, and through nationally determined contributions, each nation will report back what actions they have taken and what policies have been enforced to combat climate change. As of now, 160 nations have signed and ratified the Paris agreement with Timor-Leste being the last one having done so on August 16, 2017.
One of the main focuses of the Paris Agreement is to decrease the amount of green house gases emitted while at the same time reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by increasing sinks. As stated in the Convention website, there is “a direct relation between global average temperatures and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” so human beings must reduce GHGs emissions. This process is known as mitigation. The convention expects that all the nations that have ratified the agreement to take actions to reduce the emissions of green house gases. The convention believes that if the leaders of nations implement policies and programs that revolve around the idea of planting more trees, using renewable energy, changing your diet, making agriculture better, etc., it can significantly impact the planet in positive ways.
I believe that it is extremely important that nations take the steps necessary to reduce green house gases emissions because otherwise the temperature of the planet will be rising at a faster rate than predicted. When temperatures rise, the ice melts, ocean level rises, lands become uninhabitable due to flooding, coral reefs disappear, and if no action is taken against global warming, the globe itself may become uninhabitable within a few centuries.
“The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.” The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer | Ozone Secretariat, ozone.unep.org/en/treaties-and-decisions/montreal-protocol-substances-deplete- ozone-layer. Accessed 29 Aug. 2017.
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “Paris Agreement – Status of Ratification.” Paris Agreement – Status of Ratification, 10 Aug. 2017, unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9444.php. Accessed 29 Aug. 2017.
“UNFCCC eHandbook.” UNFCCC eHandbook – Startpage, bigpicture.unfccc.int/. Accessed 30 Aug. 2017.