A Brief History of UN Climate Change Talks

(Of course, if you know the UN, you know the history/ talks are not “brief!”)    International political response to climate change began at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 with the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international environmental treaty. This set out a legal framework for stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. A later meeting in Kyoto (1997) committed nations to emission reductions

Later meetings in Montreal (2005), Bali (2007), Copenhagen (2009), Cancun (2010), Durban (2011), Doha (2012), Warsaw (2013), Lima (2014), Geneva (February 2015), and Bonn (June 2015) produced action plans, working groups, institutions, processes, decisions, and amendments. The last two, Geneva and Bonn, produced a negotiation text and a “construction site” for a December 2015 agreement in Paris. We hope!

Pessimists will just read this list and wring their hands—will anything ever get done? Optimists will say—“Well, they are still trying…” This is where prayer comes in. Pope Francis recently met with representatives of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) and endorsed their petition which will be used to urge global leaders at the UN Paris Climate Summit to act decisively on climate justice. The link to the petition is in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Catholic Climate Petition