COP21: Beginner’s Guide to the UN Paris Climate Summit
In short, the world’s governments have already committed to curbing human activities such as burning fossil fuels that release the gases that interfere with the climate.
But that isn’t problem solved.
The difficulty comes when you try to get 195 countries to agree on how to deal with the issue of climate change. Every year since 1992 the Conference of the Parties has taken place with negotiators trying to put together a practical plan of action.
This year’s COP21 in Paris is the last chance for this process. Negotiators agreed in 2011 that a deal had to be done by the end of 2015.
Critics would say the problem of climate change mustn’t be that urgent if it takes 20 years to agree on a solution.
But defenders argue that it’s taking such a long time because decisions are taken by consensus, meaning nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. The parties believe that despite this huge limitation, it is the best way of guaranteeing fairness. We all share the planet, they say, so all should have an equal say in what happens to it.