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Brief on Climate Change

Autor:   •  March 29, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,553 Words (7 Pages)  •  750 Views

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Brief on Climate Change:

Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average (e.g., more or fewer extreme weather events).

Human activities are releasing greenhouse gases (GHG) into the atmosphere. Climate change is a global issue: 1tn CO2 emitted in India = 1tn CO2 emitted in USA

Rising levels of greenhouse gases are already changing the climate. Climate models predict the global temperature will rise by about 1.4 to 5.8 degrees by 2100. Climate change is likely to have a significant impact on the global environment, economy and society.

The greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases and is re-radiated in all directions. Since part of this re-radiation is back towards the surface, energy is transferred to the surface and the lower atmosphere. As a result, the average surface temperature is higher than it would be if direct heating by solar radiation were the only warming mechanism.

By their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect on Earth the four major gases are:

* Water vapour, 36-70%

* Carbon dioxide, 9-26%

* Methane, 4-9%

* Ozone, 3-7%

Kyoto Protocol:

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), aimed at fighting global warming. The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving the "stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."

The Protocol was initially adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of September 2011, 191 states have signed and ratified the protocol.

The main aim of the Kyoto Protocol is to contain emissions of the main anthropogenic (i.e., human-emitted) greenhouse gases (GHGs) in ways that reflect underlying national differences in GHG emissions, wealth, and capacity to make the reductions. The treaty follows the main principles agreed in the original 1992 UN Framework Convention. According to the treaty, in 2012, Annex I Parties who have ratified the treaty must have fulfilled their obligations of greenhouse gas emissions limitations established for the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period (2008-2012). These emissions limitation commitments are listed in Annex B of the Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol's first round commitments are the first detailed step of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Protocol establishes a structure of rolling emission reduction commitment periods, with negotiations on second period commitments that were scheduled to start in 2005. The first period emission reduction commitments expire at the end of 2012.

The ultimate objective of the UNFCCC is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system." Even if Annex I Parties succeed in meeting their first-round commitments, much greater emission reductions will be required in future to stabilize atmospheric GHG concentrations.

For each of the different anthropogenic GHGs, different levels of emissions reductions would be required to meet the objective of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important anthropogenic GHG. Stabilizing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would ultimately require the effective elimination of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

The five principal concepts of the Kyoto Protocol are:

* Commitments for the Annex I Parties. The main feature of the Protocol lies in establishing commitments for the reduction of greenhouse gases that are legally binding for Annex I Parties. The Annex I Parties took on legally binding commitments based on the Berlin Mandate, which was a part of UNFCCC negotiations leading up to the Protocol.

* Implementation. In order to meet the objectives of the Protocol, Annex I Parties are required to prepare policies and measures for the reduction of greenhouse gases in their respective countries. In addition, they are required to increase the absorption of these gases and utilize all mechanisms available, such as joint implementation, the clean development mechanism and emissions trading, in order to be rewarded with credits that would allow more greenhouse gas emissions at home.

* Minimizing Impacts on Developing Countries by establishing an adaptation fund for climate change.

* Accounting, Reporting and Review in order to ensure the integrity of the Protocol.

* Compliance by establishing a Compliance Committee to enforce compliance with the commitments under the Protocol.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community (the European

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