United Nations conference on human development
The United Nation Conference on human development held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972 which is also known as The Declaration on the Human Environment. It enlists the various international environmental issues, resource management, pollution prevention and the relationship between the environment and development.
The Brundtland Report (Our common future) – 1987
The report gave the idea of sustainable development, i.e. meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations. The Brundtland Commission Report recognised that human resource development in the form of poverty reduction, gender equity, and wealth redistribution was crucial to formulating strategies for environmental conservation.
UNCED or the Earth Summit 1992, held in Rio De Janeiro Brazil. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) famously called as the Earth Summit 1992. Earth Summit of the year 1992 succeeded in raising public awareness about the need to integrate environment and development. More than 190 countries participated in the event pledging their contribution to the sustainable development targets at the national and local level. As a follow-up of the Earth summit 1992, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10) held in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development was also held in Rio and is also commonly called Rio+20 or Rio Earth Summit 2012. The issues which were discussed are as follows:
1. Checking production of toxic components, such as lead in gasoline, or poisonous waste including radioactive chemicals,
2. What could be the alternative sources of energy developed to replace fossil fuels?
The Earth Summit 1992 also resulted in the following documents:
Rio Declaration: These are the principles intended to guide countries in future sustainable development.
Agenda 21: It was a non-binding action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is an action agenda for the United Nations, and other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that could be executed at the local, national, and global levels. The "21" in Agenda 21 refers to the 21st century. Its aim is achieving global sustainable development. One primary objective of the Agenda 21 initiative is that every local government should draw its own domestic Agenda 21.
Forest Principles: These are non-legally binding document on Conservation and Sustainable Development for all Types of Forests.
RIO+ 10 (2002)
The summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa. It mentions the full implementation of the Agenda 21, overarching goal for institutions at the national, regional and international levels. It was a ten year follow up of RIO summit.
RIO+20 ( 2012)
Rio+20 sought to secure affirmations for the political commitments made at past Earth Summits and set the global environmental agenda for the next 20 years by assessing the progress towards the goals outlined in Agenda 21. It was a 20 year follow up of the Rio earth summit.
Earth Summit 1992 held in Rio de Janeiro also known as UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
Earth Summit 2002 held in Johannesburg) is called the World Summit on Sustainable Development
Earth Summit, 2012 which was held in Rio de Janeiro) is called the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)
A remarkable achievement of the Earth summit was an agreement on the Climate Change Convention, which in turn led to the formulation of the Kyoto Protocol and then culminated into the Paris Agreement. There were two legally binding agreements which were also signed during this summit. The Convention on Biological Diversity called CBD. United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification called as UNCCD.
UNFCCC: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
It is an international environmental treaty under the aegis of the UN. It was negotiated during the 1992 Earth summit. The membership now is 197 countries. It provides a framework for negotiation of relevant treaties called as protocols that aim to set binding limits on the number of greenhouse gases that can be produced by any country and in what amount. The objective of UNFCCC is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to reduce the climate change due to "anthropogenic factors."
The UNFCC meetings, also known as COP (Conference of parties). Kyoto was signed at the 3rd CoP of the UNFCC in Kyoto, Japan.
- The protocol came into effect in 2005 There are around 192 member countries where the major polluting nations like the US (never singed the protocol) and Canada (withdrew in 2012) are absent.
- It is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that binds the countries to commit to reducing their greenhouse gases. The six greenhouse gases listed in the annex are Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide, Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), Perfluorocarbons (PFC), and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
- The first commitment period of Kyoto ended in 2012 (2008- 2012), post which the second commitment period started called as the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol (2013 – 2020)
- The Kyoto protocol divides countries into following groups called as annexes: -
The countries that are bound to Kyoto are bound to meet their reduction targets by domestic actions by the policies and domestic legal acts. But they can also meet part of their targets through the given mechanism:- "Market-based mechanisms".
The Kyoto Flexible Market Protocol mechanisms include:
- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
- Emission Trading(ET)
- Joint Implementation (JI)
What are Carbon credits?
So, if we are given a certain sum from our parents to spend on things we need to buy, you go and buy a dress, a Play station, few games but guess what you overspend them and you are short of certain "credits" which here is money. So, you go to your friend and borrow I unit of credit which you overspend to pay to the shop and in exchange, you give your friend something which he needs. This way, you both got what you required.
Similarly, when the countries in their quest towards development, they tend to over utilize the carbon credits assigned to them, say (1 carbon credit = 1 tonne of Carbon dioxide). So they buy these credits from another country who haven't utilized their assigned amount of credits. For example, a small country like Indonesia might not be developing at a pace and has spare credits, so these credits are then "traded" in the carbon markets which are similar to the stock markets. So the country in need buys them, and the money can be utilized in any development activities in the selling state.
So, it's a win-win situation for both!
What if a country does not comply with the Kyoto Protocol?
If any country is not complying with the Kyoto mechanisms, then the country is not allowed to gain any credit through joint implementation. The country is also expected to pay a penalty of an additional thirty per cent over the difference by which it exceeded the allowed amount of carbon credits.
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