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The Paris Climate Conference (COP21) begins

30 Nov 2015 | Written by Gaurav ; Edited by Vaneet Randhawa

The 21st session of the Conference of Parties will convene from 29 Nov to 15 Dec 2015 in Paris.

The conference is a meeting of world leaders to discuss a global approach to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and combat climate change.

COP21's primary objective is to find a mechanism to limit average global temperature increase to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

In context: The Paris Climate Conference

21 Mar 1994What is the Conference of Parties (COP)?

The international political response to climate change began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where the 'Rio Convention' adopted the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

An international framework for action to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and to avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" was set up.

The Conference Of Parties annually reviews this convention's implementation.

11 Dec 1997What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that extends the UNFCCC and commits states to reduce their GHG emissions within a stipulated "commitment phase".

The treaty recognized that industrialized nations are principally responsible for current high levels of GHGs and hence have greater responsibility.

The rules for implementation were adopted at COP7 in Morocco with the first commitment phase extending from 2008 to 2012.

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Developed vs Developing World

India has always stated that developed countries must bear higher responsibility in dealing with climate change as they have been primarily responsible for polluting the earth over the last 200 years.
The Copenhagen Climate Summit

18 Dec 2009The Copenhagen Climate Summit

The Copenhagen summit saw for the first time, all major economies including China and India being given explicit emission pledges to commit toward.

The summit was largely considered a failure as discussions were 'hijacked' by the US, China and major polluting countries which committed to reduce emissions, but failed to chart out a clear path or a legally binding agreement on the matter.

9 Dec 2014COP 20 Lima and INDCs

COP20, held in Lima, Peru was significant for its adoption of COP19's "Intended Nationally Determined Contributions".

These INDCs allow nations to set their own emission targets, moving away from the "one size fits all" approach from earlier conferences.

Over the last year, countries have uploaded their INDCs to the UNFCCC website and it is expected to culminate in a global agreement at COP21.

List of top polluters

In terms of absolute emissions, China, USA, the EU and India are the top four polluters in the world. However, India only ranks 10th in terms of per capita emissions.
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3 Oct 2015India's Intended nationally Determined Commitments

In its INDC submission to the UNFCCC, India stated its intention to reduce its carbon dependence by 33-35% by 2030.

It also intends to use renewable energy sources for 40% of its total power generation by 2030.

India has stated that it would require up to $2.5 trillion in financial and technology transfer commitments from developed countries to be able to meet these targets.

30 Nov 2015The Paris Climate Conference (COP21) begins

2 Degrees too many

A 2 degree increase in average global temperature will cause island nations to become inundated, storms and droughts to become exponentially stronger and puts 1/3 of all species at the risk of extinction.

11 Dec 2015India dissatisfied with Paris climate draft

India is dissatisfied with the latest draft of the Paris Climate Summit which was presented to attending nations for study and deliberations yesterday.

Environment Minister Prakash Javedekar stated that India has objections to key issues including financing and differentiated responsibilities in the latest draft.

Today is the final day of the summit and negotiations on the draft will conclude with signing the Paris declaration.

12 Dec 2015Final draft of climate deal unveiled in Paris

Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister unveiled the landmark global climate accord in Paris.

Its key points include a more aggressive goal for limiting the rise in global temperatures (less than 2°C), a $100 billion/year funding for developing nations, and a 5-year cycle to review national pledges to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

Fabius hoped that the 200-nations would support the final deal.

23 Apr 2016175 countries sign the Paris Climate Agreement

A record 175 countries signed the historic agreement on climate change.

On behalf of India, Prakash Javadekar -Union Environment Minister signed the agreement.

Some of the largest oil producers like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Kazakhstan have not signed the deal yet.

The treaty will come into force once 55 nations factoring at least 55 percent of global emissions have officially joined it.

03 Oct 2016India enters Paris Climate Change Agreement

On 2nd October, 2016, India formally became a part of the Paris Climate Change Agreement by submitting its instrument of ratification at the UN Headquarters, NY.

By doing this, it becomes the 62nd country to ratify the Paris Agreement.

The country plans to urge the global community to adopt the 'Gandhian way of life' (dismissing luxurious lifestyles for a better environment).

07 Oct 2016EU, China, India and the US ratify Paris climate deal

The Paris United Nations climate change treaty will come into force from November as the countries factoring over "half the world's carbon dioxide emitters" approved the deal.

These include European Union, China, India and the United States. Notably, Australia is yet to ratify it.

The Paris agreement will get enforced in "30 days after 55 percent of the world's emitters ratify it".

05 Nov 2016Paris climate deal springs into action

The Paris climate deal which was initiated last year kick-started on Friday, reminding nearly 200 countries to reduce green house gases (GHGs).

UN Climate Chief Patricia Espinosa said, "This is a moment to celebrate."

On Monday, representatives of 200 countries will come together in Marrakesh, Morocco to discuss the technicalities of the climate deal and also to ensure that the funds are in place.

11 Nov 2016Trump's win raises concerns over Paris Climate deal

Donald Trump's victory in the US elections has cast doubt over the US commitment to the Paris Climate deal; Trump calls climate change a hoax.

Trump had pledged to undo the Obama administration's measures under the Paris Climate deal, raising speculation that the US could pull out of the deal.

Several scientists and environmental activists called Trump's win a planetary disaster.

20 Nov 2016Countries set a deadline for finalizing Paris agreement rules

The UN climate conference ended with the 190 negotiators fixing a deadline of 2018 to complete the rule book for setting the Paris Agreement in motion.

The rules will define ways for mapping emissions reductions in all countries and to gather climate finance for the developing countries.

They also decided on a precise road-map to adhere to the deadline for the rule book.