In response to a changing climate, organizations across the globe have urged all of us to acknowledge the reality of our capacities to respond. As you will see below, these organizations have played an instrumental role in recognizing larger climatic patterns through their collaborative analyses of localized climate events.
This section looks at organized, international responses to our changing climate. As you navigate this section, it may be helpful to keep a couple of questions in mind:
What does international collaboration look like at its best?
In specific ways, what are these international organizations telling us about our world, our responsibilities, and our future? Finally, how is this information useful to you, and in fact to all of us, wherever we are on the Earth?
Explore: UN Climate Summit Documents
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Kyoto: 1997, COP 3
- Adoption of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change United Nations
- The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
- Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."
(Description taken from: unfccc.int)
Marrakech: 2001, COP 7
- Third Assessment Report: Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis United Nations
- Documents trends in climate change, including the rise in temperatures, rising sea levels, and decreased ice pack. Explains human responsibility for climate change. Details possible consequences of climate change and articulates areas for further action.
Nairobi: 2006, COP 12
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twelfth session, held at Nairobi from 6 to 17 November 2006” United Nations
- Key outcomes, according to “Institute for Global Environmental Strategies" United Nations
- “The Nairobi conference primarily focused on four issues: Moving forward with adaptation; improving equity and accessibility of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM); reviewing the mandate of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT); and maintaining momentum in discussions on the post-2012 climate regime.”
Copenhagen: 2009, COP 15
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its fifteenth session, held in Copenhagen from 7 to 19 December 2009” United Nations
- The Copenhagen Accord would have committed signatory countries to taking significant action to reduce greenhouse emissions. The Copenhagen summit was very contentious, and The Conference of the Parties did not sign onto the Copenhagen Accord but only agreed to “take note of it”.
Cancun: 2010, COP 16
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol on its sixth session, held in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December 2010” [in two parts]
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/cmp6/eng/12a01.pdf (Part 1) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/cmp6/eng/12a02.pdf (Part 2) United Nations
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol on its seventh session, held in Durban from 28 November to 11 December 2011” [in two parts]
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/cmp7/eng/10a01.pdf (Part 1) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/cmp7/eng/10a02.pdf (Part 2) United Nations
Doha: 2012, COP 18
- “Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol” United Nations
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its eighteenth session, held in Doha from 26 November to 8 December 2012” [in three parts]
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2012/cop18/eng/08a01.pdf (Part 1) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2012/cop18/eng/08a02.pdf (Part 2) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2012/cop18/eng/08a03.pdf (Part 3) United Nations
- Explanation of the significance of Doha and the Doha amendment
- “At the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar (COP18/ CMP8), governments consolidated the gains of the last three years of international climate change negotiations and opened a gateway to necessary greater ambition and action on all levels. Among the many decisions taken, governments strengthened their resolve and set out a timetable to adopt a universal climate agreement by 2015, which will come into effect in 2020.”
Warsaw: 2013, COP 19
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its nineteenth session, held in Warsaw from 11 to 23 November 2013” [in three parts]
- As the Warsaw climate talks end, the hard work is just beginning The Guardian
Lima: 2014, COP 20
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twentieth session, held in Lima from 1 to 14 December 2014” [in three parts]
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2014/cop20/eng/10a01.pdf (Part 1) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2014/cop20/eng/10a02.pdf (Part 2) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2014/cop20/eng/10a03.pdf (Part 3) United Nations
- Lima climate change talks reach global warming agreement The Guardian
Paris: 2015, COP 21
- The Paris agreement United Nations
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twenty-first session, held in Paris from 30 November to 13 December 2015” [in three parts]
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/10a01.pdf (Part 1) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/10a02.pdf (Part 2) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/10a03.pdf (Part 3) United Nations
- The first “binding” agreement of the Conference of the Parties.
- “The largest goals of the Paris Agreement are to 1) limit a global temperature increase (this century) to 2 degrees Celsius, 2) strengthen the ability of developing countries to cope with the impacts of a changing climate, and 3) aim to peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. There are both binding and non-binding elements, and one of the more powerful aspects is a call to rely on current natural resources to combat climate change: carbon sinks and reservoirs around the world, specifically forests.”
(Summary taken from populationeducation.org)
Marrakech: 2016, COP 22
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twenty-second session, held in Marrakech from 7 to 18 November 2016” [in two parts]
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2016/cop22/eng/10a01.pdf (Part 1) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2016/cop22/eng/10a02.pdf (Part 2) United Nations
- COP22: Key outcomes agreed at the UN climate talks in Marrakech Carbon Brief
Bonn: 2017, COP 23
- Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twenty-third session, held in Bonn from 6 to 18 November 2017 United Nations
- Preparations for the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement United Nations
- What Happened (and Didn’t) at the Bonn Climate Talks New York Times
Katowice: 2018, COP 24
- “Report of the Conference of the Parties on its twenty-fourth session, held in Katowice from 2 to 15 December 2018” [in two parts]
- https://unfccc.int/documents/193360 (Part 1) United Nations
- https://unfccc.int/documents/193361 (Part 2) United Nations
- What was agreed at COP24 in Poland and why did it take so long? The Guardian
- “Special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C: (Summary for Policy Makers) United Nations
- Summarizes the findings of climate scientists on global warming and its effects.
Taken from: https://research.un.org/en/climate-change/reports
1. In what ways do these international responses reaffirm or challenge your perceptions of a changing climate?
2. The United Nations is intended to represent the interests of peoples and countries. All of us are located somewhere in this mix. What responsibilities do you believe we have to engage with all of this material above?
3. Map it Out! (30 Minutes)
Draw a visual timeline -- be as creative as you like -- that highlights five main features of the United Nations work above.