What to Expect from COP 29: Focus on Peace and Climate Solutions

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • What is Conference of the Parties (COP)?
  • The Upcoming COP 29 and Truce Proposal

Why in News?

Azerbaijan is the host of this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 29). It wants to prevent geopolitical tensions from affecting the talks. 

Hence, the upcoming COP 29 (in November 2024) will focus on promoting "peace" and a "truce" to allow countries to concentrate on climate solutions amid ongoing conflicts.

What is Conference of the Parties (COP)?

  • COP is the annual United Nations (UN) climate meeting
    • In 1992, at the Rio Earth Summit, 154 countries signed a multilateral treaty called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 
    • It aimed to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system.
    • The treaty came into force two years later, and since then, countries which are part of the UNFCCC, meet every year at different venues. 
    • Today, there are 198 ‘parties’ or signatories of the Convention.
    • COP was a result of a strong belief in the power of international agreements to tackle environmental problems
    • Policymakers of that era believed in a unified commitment to deal with climate change. 
    • Their belief was strengthened by the success of: 
      • the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer, and 
      • a 1991 bilateral agreement between the US and Canada that helped combat acid rain by limiting the emission of sulphur dioxide (SO2). 
    • This led to the inception of UNFCCC.
  • The first ever COP took place in Berlin, Germany, in 1995
    • The first edition of COP entailed a discussion on how to implement the UNFCCC. 
    • At the meeting, an agreement was reached to meet annually to discuss action on climate change and emissions reductions.
    • In the following two years, another deal was made that placed international obligations on the set of rich and industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by assigned amounts. 
    • The agreement would become the Kyoto Protocol as it was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, during the COP-3.
  • Paris Agreement (COP 21)
    • The Paris Agreement, also known as COP21, is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. 
      • It was adopted by 196 parties at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, France in December 2015. 
      • The agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016.
    • The Paris Agreement's main objectives are: 
      • Limit global warming: Keep global warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C
      • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2100
      • Support countries: Strengthen countries' ability to deal with the impacts of climate change
      • Provide financing: Provide financing to developing countries to mitigate climate change

The Upcoming COP 29 and Truce Proposal

  • Azerbaijan to be the host of COP 29
    • Azerbaijan, as the host, will lead the 29th edition of the conference.
    • It will build upon the agenda set in COP 28 in Dubai. Key points include transitioning away from fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050.
    • Azerbaijan will aim to guide countries toward consensus on addressing the climate crisis, emphasizing the urgency of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. 
    • A major issue to be addressed is the unfulfilled 2009 commitment by developed countries to provide $100 billion annually to developing countries for climate action. 
    • In 2024, the conference is expected to set a new annual target above $100 billion and determine whether the funds will be grants or loans.
  • Truce Proposal – need for climate unity despite geopolitical divisions
    • Azerbaijan is aiming to shield the annual talks from geopolitical tensions by proposing a two-week COP truce
    • This initiative, inspired by the Olympic truce, is intended to unite countries in a collaborative effort to address the pressing issue of climate change.
    • As per the host of COP 29, the climate crisis is a universal issue that requires an inclusive approach.
    • The current global political divide is similar to the Cold War era, making it hard to agree on climate action.
    • Challenges in Achieving Net Zero
    • Many developing countries lack the institutional capacity and financial awareness needed to prepare effective NDCs. 
      • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are climate action plans that countries create to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. 
      • NDCs are self-defined pledges that outline how countries will reduce emissions, adapt to climate change, and secure funding to support these efforts. 
      • They are short- to medium-term plans that must be updated every five years with more ambitious goals based on each country's capabilities.
    • Azerbaijan is working towards its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, but more support and awareness are needed to achieve this target. 
    • NDCs are crucial for countries to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting the 1.5°C target. 
    • Several countries submitted their latest NDCs by 2023, with the next submissions expected by 2028.

Q.1. What are Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)?

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are climate action plans that countries create to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. NDCs are self-defined pledges that outline how countries will reduce emissions, adapt to climate change, and secure funding to support these efforts. They are short- to medium-term plans that must be updated every five years with more ambitious goals based on each country's capabilities.

Q.2. What is Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol operationalizes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing industrialized countries and economies in transition to limit and reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets.

Source: Climate conference in November to emphasise ‘peace’ and ‘truce’ | UNFCCC | Economic Times