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Achievements and Failures of Climate Change Conference at Paris


The United Nations Climate Change Conference was held during 30th November to 10th December 2015. It saw the representation of 196 nations. The discussions at the 21st Conference of Parties related to the agenda set at the 1992 UNFCCC.

The draft declaration said that the participating nations agreed to arrest the global warming by limiting it to 2 degrees Celsius. However, for the achievement of the long term environmental goal, the nations will require to commit to zero emission level.

The agreement will become legally binding, if signed by at least 55 countries, which comprises of 55% representation towards contribution to global greenhouse emissions. These nations will need to sign the agreement at New York from April 2016 to April 2017 and have to incorporate the legality of it in their country’s system.

The aim of the Paris convention is briefly enumerated below:

  • Significant reductions in greenhouse emissions that would restrict the global temperature levels.
  • Enhancement of adaptability towards the adverse effects of climate change and limiting greenhouse developments to ascertain non encumbrance in food production.
  • Restructuring of finance leading to climate resilient sustainable development.

In the parlance of climate change the Conference of Paris embarked upon a reform on the existing Kyoto Protocol. The prime objective is creation of an ambitious yet balanced plan to facilitate reduction of global warming.

In an era driven by exhaustive production and acyclic demand, the need for energy is inevitable. But at the same time natural resources are subjected to higher levels of stress and increasing quantum of human population makes it even more difficult to manage resource allocation, thus leading to natural exploitation.

Things like extensive deforestation, over burdened industrialization, uncontrolled pollution are on the rise every second. These indexes result in global warming and hence Climate Change.

The Paris Conference has revived the entire Climate Change issues. The negotiations have been referred to as “Historic Turning Point”. It has sparked activity among the participating nations who are looking forward towards the ratification/acceptance to procure legal enforceability.

Another significant undertaking is adapt diligent actions towards climate change but same time to ensure that it would not hamper food production activity. This is of great importance in context to sustainable growth as it would contribute towards harmonious development

Another accomplishment at Paris is the plan to create intelligent finance flow management backed by Decision Support Systems.

Past experience on Climate Change Conventions reveals the nations did opposite to the terms and conditions agreed upon. Had the deliberations of the Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol or the successive amendments been abided, there would not have been the requirement for signing the legal enforceability clause. All previous attempts pertaining to restrict greenhouse emission has ended in a complete fiasco and instead of controlling the climate change it was allowed to be exacerbated.

Demerits of the Paris Convention

  • The main demerit is that these commitments are of non-binding in nature.
  • Due to the lack of enforcement mechanisms, the previous protocols on climate change have so far not been monitored.
  • The agreement suffers from conditional voting rights. It would be legally enforceable only when at least 55 countries who are the major greenhouse emitting nations ratify the same. The option for signing the agreement remains voluntary.
  • Moreover no individual target specifying emission limit has been allotted to a particular country. This is a major flaw, when nations are trying to restrict global warming in a unified way.

The United Nations is putting great emphasis on the sensitive issues of climate change, as they would decide the destiny of our future existence. It thus becomes imperative for all the nations to conform to the guidelines of the Paris conference and ensure proper preparedness to tackle the issue of Climate Change.

-Dipanjan Dutta