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Climate Change Policies Around the World: From Earth Summit to Present Day - Abhinav Agrawal

Updated: Nov 27, 2021


During the time of this pandemic, there is pressure on the government to reconsider the environment norms. Enhanced carbon dioxide emission coupled with the dismissal of water vapor, nitrous oxide, Methane, and chlorofluorocarbon resulted in the greenhouse effect and became one of the most pressing issues affecting the international community at large. Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, environmental degradation, and intense heat waves are the evident consequence of Climate change on people are and the ecosystem. In this article, we will try to evaluate the comprehensive environmental policies and frameworks that have been adopted by the international community and find out the effective solution of this hardship.

This problem was first recognized by the global society in 1980 and significant steps were also taken to deal with this issue.

The Earth Summit - The United Nations Conference on environment and development also known as the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992. It is one of the considerable action taken by the international society to enable economic growth in a sustainable manner. One of the main documents agreed upon at the Earth Summit was the Climate Change Convention. It is the compulsory trade treaty among the developed and developing Nations to curtail the emission of Carbon dioxide, Methane, and other Greenhouse gases which are responsible for global warming. It aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration at a degree that would dissuade human interference in the climate system.

The Kyoto Protocol - The Kyoto Protocol was held in Kyoto Japan on 11 December 1997 and became international law on 16 February 2005.

The protocol solely relies on the precept of "common but differentiated responsibilities".

It considered that each country has different economic development so they will be liable accordingly for the emission of carbon dioxide. So, it instructed the compulsory reduction in greenhouse gases admission by the industrialized Nations. Countries which found to emit more than the specified limits would be penalized by obtaining a lower emission limit in the following period. The Kyoto Protocol was proved ineffective because every Nation could not meet its specified targets. Countries like China and the United States emits such a proportion of greenhouse gases that can easily mitigate the advancement made by any of the nations that fulfill the target. A second commitment period was agreed in 2012 known as the Doha amendment. It introduced added new emission contraction targets for the participating countries. The Doha amendment had a short lifespan and replaced by the Paris agreement in 2015.

The Paris Agreement - The Paris Agreement adopted by a large number of Nations to deal with climate change and its impacts. The objective of the agreement is to reduce the earth temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level and to incite the effort to reduce the temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement also facilitates solidarity among the Nations by encouraging developed countries to mobilize financial support to the developing Nation which enables them to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases.

The Paris agreement it is very flexible and adaptable to the Kyoto Protocol.

It requires every country to disclose its targets every five years, unlike the Kyoto Protocol which does not specify the requirement to achieve the ultimate goal. On the contrary, various studies have shown that if all the countries in the Paris agreement pledge to reduce the emission meet their target then also emission would not be reduced to keep the temperature rise under the cap of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Need for action by the government

We all are aware that no single state or small faction of states unable to make the difference. In order to achieve a common solution, all state needs to come together and put their efforts and endeavors collectively. Climate change is a multi-generational problem. The adverse effect of it may not be pictorial now but it is expected to arise in the future. We are expected to pay the price for the privilege of our successors. Political leaders need to carry out effective policies and have to persuade the public to make behavioral changes among them. There is a challenge towards the government to create awareness and proper understanding among the peoples.


In the wake of this pandemic, we have seen that nature has started healing itself. The lockdown effects on the environment will vanish if the government does not frame environmental laws without proper consultation and mitigation. Apart from global undertakings, each nation must strive to bring transformation by pronouncing landmark judgements. There is a need for individual efforts and Covid-19 can be seen as the opportunity to move towards sustainability and reconciliation between the nation which would lead to collective benefit for all.

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