International Agreements on Climate Change: A GCSE Overview
Climate change is a significant challenge facing our planet today. It affects everyone, regardless of geographic location, socioeconomic status, or age. As GCSE students learn about the causes and impacts of climate change, it is important to also understand the international agreements that have been put in place to combat this issue.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established in 1992 as a response to the growing concern over global warming. The goal was to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system and to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
The UNFCCC set the stage for future international agreements on climate change. One such agreement is the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and came into force in 2005. The Kyoto Protocol requires developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels over the period 2008-2012.
Another significant agreement is the Paris Agreement, which was adopted in 2015 and came into force in 2016. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement does not set binding emission reduction targets for countries. Instead, it sets out a framework to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Under the Paris Agreement, countries are required to submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs) outlining their climate targets and actions. These NDCs are intended to be ambitious and reflect a country’s highest possible efforts to tackle climate change.
In addition to these agreements, there are also regional and bilateral agreements on climate change. For instance, the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is a regional agreement that seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. Meanwhile, the United States and China, two of the world`s largest emitters, signed a bilateral agreement in 2014 committing to reduce their emissions and increase the use of renewable energy.
These international agreements on climate change are crucial for addressing the global challenge of climate change. However, they are just the beginning. It is essential to continue working towards stronger commitments and to take action at the local and individual levels. GCSE students can play a significant role in bringing about change by learning about this issue and working towards a sustainable future.
In conclusion, climate change is a complex issue that requires global cooperation and action. International agreements such as the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and Paris Agreement have been put in place to address this issue, but we must continue striving for stronger commitments and actions. As GCSE students, it is our responsibility to learn about this issue and take action towards a sustainable future.