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According to the report, Preparing for a Changing Climate, rising levels

of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere have

warmed the Earth and are causing wide-ranging impacts, including rising sea
levels; melting snow and ice; more extreme heat events, fires and drought;
and more extreme storms, rainfall and floods. As a result of this lead to the
increased focus on protecting the environment through the creation of
environment treaties. Environment treaties are international
agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by
international law to help reduce the level or greenhouse gases which are
harmful to the environment. This essay seeks to determine the main
provisions of the UN Framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC OR
FCC), the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement and indicate whether they
have been effective in limiting greenhouse gases and the extent to which
developing countries have benefited from them with reference to relevant
The international political response to climate change began with the
adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) in 1992. The UNFCCC sets out a framework for action aimed at
stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases to avoid
dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Controlled
gases include methane, nitrous oxide and, in particular, carbon dioxide. The
UNFCCC has 194 signatures however there was a need for amendments due
to the fact that no legally binding targets were agreed among the UNFCCC
committed signatories. The legally binding emissions targets however were
not agreed until 1997 in Kyoto through a protocol known as the Kyoto
Protocol. Under the protocol 37 countries listed on Annex 1 commit
themselves to a reduction of four greenhouse gases by 5.2% from 1990
level. In other words the UNFCCC was where countries agreed to stabilize
greenhouse gas concentration while the Kyoto protocol is where the legally
binding targets were set.The Kyoto Protocol is seen as an important first step
towards a truly global emission reduction regime and sets a strong basis for
future international agreements on climate change.
According to Articles 3 of the Kyoto Protocol the Parties included in
Annex I shall, individually or jointly, ensure that their aggregate
anthropogenic carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of the greenhouse gases
listed in Annex A do not exceed their assigned amounts. The Kyoto
Protocol was successful to an extent where many countries have decreased
their emissions e.g. the EU has dropped their emissions by 5%. Overall, there
are more successes than failures and the sum of emissions from nations with
Kyoto targets have fallen significantly. In the meantime, however, emissions
in the rest of the world have increased sharply especially in China and
other emerging economies. This blurs the success of the nations with Kyoto
targets because much of the growth in China and other emerging economies
has been driven by the production of goods and services exported to
developed nations. According to a report total carbon footprint of each nation
(including imports and excluding exports), the progress made under Kyoto is
extremely poor, with Europe's savings reduced to just 1% from 1990 to 2008
and the developed world as a whole seeing its emissions rise by 7% in the
same period. This made the goals somewhat unattainable in the time
allotted. Furthermore, the United States still refuses to ratify the treaty and
one of the largest total emitter in the world which resulted in the failure of
the Kyoto Protocol. The reason the United States will not ratify this treaty
because of the absence of binding targets for developing nations and
believed that it will be harmful to its economy. Both India and Chinas
emissions have increased dramatically; 103% and 150% respectively.
Without binding targets for developing nations, they will only increase their
emissions and it will be harder to reduce them in the future.
The Paris agreement is another climate change treaty developed within
the UNFCCC to help states within the international system to reduce
greenhouse gases emission. The Paris Agreement aimed to limit global
warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. The Copenhagen Accord before
it, stated that increases above 2 degrees Celsius, risk dangerous
anthropogenic interferences with the climate system. The mechanisms of
emissions reductions could reinforce uneven development and the unequal
relations of production. The COP agreements promote offsetting emissions by
enhancing forest carbon stocks in developing countries (UNFCCC,2015).
Mechanisms like REDD/REDD+ have enabled Northern actors to commandeer vast
swathes of Southern land to offset their emissions, often with little-regard for land-
users. In Uganda, for example, Green Resources evicted 8,000 people to make way
for a monocultural-plantation (Bachram, 2004). These forest empires act as an
occupying force in marginal communities, dependent on these resources for
survival. Because global temperature is a net not a gross carbon metric, the South
could become a carbon dump for the over-consumptive North (Bachram, 2004),
while vulnerable and underdeveloped communities are alienated from the resources
required for survival and development. Global temperature abstracts inequality;
tacitly promoting it. Global temperature targets could advance uneven
development, as the survival-emissions and resources of the slum-dweller and
subsistence-farmer are bargained away to service the bankers foreign holiday
(Hulme,2010). Offsetting is remedial it does nothing to change the underlying
problem the system.