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Protection of the Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Mankind

Effects of Climate Change:

A change in the global climate affects the entire world. The consequences of climate change can affect the water cycle, vegetation or soil as well as trigger other chain reactions. With the rise in temperature that is expected, if prevention steps are not put in place, the mean sea level will also raise. It has been projected that by the year 2100 the mean sea level is expected to rise 9-88 cm. This would cause flooding of low-lying areas as well as significant other damage. In turn this change would also directly effect the global precipitation and the severity and frequency of extreme events. A drastic change in sea level also affects climate zones, forests, deserts, rangelands, and other unmanageable ecosystems. These ecosystems will decline or fragment and individual species will suffer and/or become extinct. Mankind will also be exposed to direct and indirect affects produced by global climate change. These affects will include food storages in some areas, water resources around the world, damage to physical infrastructures, and cause problems with economic activities, human settlements, and human health. The most vulnerable are the poor and disadvantaged when it comes to climate change.          

History and the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change:

Of course, the global climate has changed throughout history. Mankind can drastically affect the earth’s natural radiation balance or what is also known as the natural greenhouse effect. Mankind has increased the earth’s natural level of greenhouse gases. By releasing these gases into the atmosphere mankind has put overwhelming pressure on the earth’s radiation balance. Even as early as the twentieth century many different changes have been recorded. Various organizations have been trying to relieve the stress put on the Earth’s atmosphere. Within the United Nations countries have banded together in support of this relief. The United Nation Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) was concluded in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Since 1992 it has been ratified by most nation states around the world and by 1994 it entered into force. Today there are over 185 members. This Convention has identified that global climate change is a serious problem that will directly affect all nation states. The international community believes that since this is an international problem that affects all states, implementations and guidelines need to be reached to avoid further exacerbation of the earth’s climate therefore countering long-term global warming caused by mankind. Within the UNFCCC lies the most important body, the Conference of the Parties (COP). The Conference of the Parties takes place on an annual basis discussing various issues that affect the global community. The First Conference of the Parties (COP1) was held in Berlin in 1995, followed by COP2 in Geneva in 1996, COP3 in Kyoto in 1997, COP4 in Buenos Aires in 1998, COP5 in Bonn in 1999, COP6 in Hague in 2000 and Bonn in 2001, COP& in Marrakech in 2001, COP8 in New Delhi in 2002, and lastly COP9 in Milano in 2003.         

Kyoto Protocol:

The Kyoto Protocol was concluded at the Third Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention in December of 1997. The Kyoto Protocol serves as a model and is highly symbolic of effective global governance in regards to global climate protection. More than 180 countries (not the US) intent to ratify the Protocol and more than 100 have already done so. All that is needed now for the protocol to enter into force is Russia to ratify it. The Protocol is the first measure aimed at industrial countries to take on the responsibility for global warming. The countries involve plan to reduce emissions in the first period from 2008 to 2012. As well as reducing their own emissions, countries have three flexible instruments at their disposal: global trade in greenhouse gas emissions rights (emissions trade), development and transfer of relevant technology (joint implementation) and the implementation of measures in developing countries (clean development mechanism).  

Cost efficiency:

Stabilizing or reducing emissions worldwide would have consequences for almost every human activity. Each country is different when it comes to global impact of emissions. It depends greatly of their geographical location/circumstance, sources of energy, and their efficiency in which they use energy and natural resources. Policies for minimizing risks by reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also come with a serious price-tag. Estimates of how much such policies will cost vary considerably due to different consumptions and uncertainties. Innovations of all sorts have been introduced to help the situation. Examples include hybrid engine cars, wind turbines, underground carbon dioxide storage, and advantages in fuel cell technology all would help reduce global warming but all would come at a cost.    

The Future of Climate change:

Future global conditions will depend on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. There are many factors that change the amount of emissions. The population plays a significant role in the amount of emission, the large the population is the larger amount of emissions within the atmosphere. Economic development also plays a role, tends point out that wealthy countries release more per capita than poor countries. Countries with similar wealth can have very different emission rates.


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