Milestones of the Conference of the Parties (COP)
The signature of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 (Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit) represented the start of annual climate conferences. The COP, ratified by 196 governments, recognized the existence of global warming as a result of anthropogenic activity and allocated the responsibility for fighting climate change to all governments, and in particular to those of industrialized countries.
Despite the difficulties involved in reaching global agreements, we would highlight some progress made in the twenty Conferences that have been held in the years before the forthcoming COP21. They are the pillars on which a possible international agreement on Climate Change will be based, to be reached in Paris in December.
1995 COP1 Berlin
Following this first Conference of the Parties in Germany, the signatory countries agreed to meet every year and assumed responsibility for maintaining control over global warming.
Right from the start, the need to begin negotiations to reduce emissions of polluting gases from the year 2000 onward was acknowledged.
1997 COP3 Kyoto
The Kyoto Protocol was officially adopted, in which industrialized countries made commitments for the period 2008-2012 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% against the level of 1990.
With the aim of avoiding an unprecedented temperature increase in the planet, a historic agreement was reached, although its main objectives were not achieved. The Kyoto Protocol would become the key figure in future climate summit conferences.
2007 COP13 Bali
New commitments were undertaken vis-à-vis the second part of the Kyoto Protocol (2102-2020) in the summit held in Indonesia.
A new date was set to specify the following steps: 2009 in Copenhagen. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its fourth report and this led to a higher level of awareness about the issue.
2009 COP15 Copenhagen
Scientific evidence on climate change has not always received strong support. It was necessary to wait until this summit in Denmark for all the countries to recognize climate change as a universal problem.
In the COP15, the governments agreed that the increase in global mean temperature must not exceed two degrees Celsius, although they did not specify how this would be achieved.
2010 COP16 Cancun
2011 COP17 Durban
In South Africa, in contrast to Kyoto, all the countries agreed to start a process of emission reduction. This included the main polluting countries: the United States and the major emerging economies (Brazil, China, India and South Africa).
In Durban the process to mobilize funds was determined – up to US $ 100,000 million per annum – to finance the fight against climate change.
2012 COP18 Doha
In the climate conference in Qatar, the countries responsible for just 15% of total emissions agreed to extend the commitment made in the Kyoto Protocol until 2020.
The United States, Japan, Russia, Canada and New Zealand (among others) did not sign the text.
2014 COP20 Lima
Previously, in a Climate Summit held in New York, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that some financial institutions, investors, banks and insurance companies would transfer more than 200,000 million dollars by 2015 to create low-carbon economies (’Green Climate Fund’).
In the Peru conference, and for the first time, all the countries undertook to present their commitments on greenhouse gas emissions before October 1st 2015. These are called ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’ (INDC). Paris.
A potential global agreement on climate was postponed to the COP21 in
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