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Global Environmental Impacts and Challenges Research (Essay Sample)


the paper instructions was to write a paper on GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS AND CHALLENGES giving paper review on literature and gives a report on climatic change agreement challenges, institutions and the difficulties faced by nations when seeking to gain agreement on a coordinated approach.


By Name
Global environmental changes like climatic change, have increased degradation of ecosystems leading to risks such as reduced opportunities especially vulnerable and poor populations, water scarcity, extreme poverty, financial crisis, and food crisis. These changes are taking place because of increased urbanization, fast moving and interconnected world amongst changes in geological power balances, and globalization. Information and labour, burgeoning flows goods, and technology and capital leads to growing global population with implications for productions and consumptions patterns. Addressing this problem requires sustained rules, values, institutions, and economic systems to transform the environment through legal, political, demographic, and technological means. United Nations Climate Change Conference will therefore take place in December 2015 at Paris and a total of 196 countries will meet to sign new climate change agreements (Willis, 2014). This paper review literature and gives a report on climatic change agreement challenges, institutions and the difficulties faced by nations when seeking to gain agreement on a coordinated approach.
Climate Change Agreement challenges and Institutions
An extensive review of the literature found out that series of climatic change agreements and institutions have taken place to reduce Global environmental impact by climate change. Carraro (1999) argued that man-made climate change was known to be a problem in the 20th century even though Green House Gases emissions effects on the global climate have been there since 19th century. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 to assess the scientific evidence (Pulhin, 2010).
In 1994, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was entered into force and was earlier adopted at Earth summit in Rio in 1992 (Tomlinson, 2015). The main goal of the establishment was to stabilize concentration of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to an acceptable level to reduce anthropogenic interference of the system of climate. The first Conference of Parties (COP 1) was established in Berlin in 1995 to initiate negotiation process and agreed that developed countries commitments will be strengthened. Pulhin (2010) argued that these negotiations and agreements led to establishment of Kyoto protocol in 1997 which entered into force in 2005. The protocol required developed nations to measure their reduction of carbon emissions into the atmosphere by 5.2%. The protocol did not become effective since the US which was number one emitter of carbon did not comply with the protocol.
COP 15 in Copenhagen was established in 2009 to implement new climate agreement that would commit both developing and developed countries, an agreement that was post-Kyoto period. This conference resulted in a failure since it ended with a non-binding document mentioning 2oC target, a gaol was agreed to provide climate finance, and came up with Green Climate Fund in which countries made pledges up to 2020 that were not sufficient to meet the 2oC target
In 2011, COP 17 conference was held in Durban. It establishes a mechanism of technology to expedite technology development and relocation. The conference also concluded that a new agreement to be adopted by 2015 and enter into force in 2020. The agreements was to be legally binding and applicable to all countries of the world and the Ad Hoc working group on Durban platform was to prepare it for an Enhanced Action.
Kyoto protocol second commitment period (2013 -2020) conference referred to as COP 18 was held in Doha in 2012. The Doha agreement did not enter into force since out of 144 countries of the Doha Amendment, only 23 countries have approved it so far. It was found that the Doha Amendment impacts only 14% of global emissions since Japan, US, Canada, and Russia have not yet assumed commitment while Australia, EU member states, and other European countries have assumed commitment (Australian Greenhouse Office, 2000).
COP 19 conference was held in 2013. This was established to create a Warsaw mechanism internationally for the damage and loss and to address damage caused by climate change in developing countries. This agreement was subject and scheduled to be reviewed in 2016(COP22).
The US-China announcement on their intention to reduce climate change was made on December 2014 a head of the Lima conference. The US in the agreement plans to reduce carbon emission by 26-28% by 2025 while china plans and aims at increasing sharing of sources of non-fossil fuel energy and to reach peak of emissions of carbon by 2030. Moreover, the US and china decided to expand their commitment and cooperation in production of clean energy, storage and carbon capture.
In December 2014 the Lima conference was held that serve as the 20th sessions of COP to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Erbach, 2015). The conference concluded with a document called ‘Lima Call for Climate Action’. This document requires all countries to make known their intended contributions towards post-2020 climate change action before December 2015 Paris conference as well as with draft negotiating text elements of an annex. The document contains some important decisions that were found relevant for more progress towards the Paris agreement. The agreement will address capacity building, mitigation, finance, technology development and transfer, transparency, and adaptation in a balance manner.
Difficulties and Challenges Faced By Countries Seeking to Gain Agreement
Despite the intensive negotiations for about 20 years, the world’s nations have never found amicable solution to prevent the highly increasing dangerous climate change. It was found that the world might be heading for a 4o c rise in temperature by 2100 due to continued rise in Global emissions of Greenhouse Gases (GHG). These challenges are related to economic, technical, and political factors as discussed below.
Economic challenges
A close link still exist between Greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, prosperity Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and energy use. It was found that most economies still would not be able to achieve deep reduction in GHG emissions without impacts on their Gross Domestic Product negatively in the short term run while at the same time certain uncoupling of GHG emissions and Gross Domestic Products have already been achieved by certain countries. Deep transformation and reduction of Global warming brought about by climate change requires huge sums of money for the generation of safe energy, efficient and safe transport systems which will take decades since some countries are still underdeveloped and cannot raise such money (Stern, 1992). Additionally, to achieve breakthrough to efficient, clean and safer energy technologies, and safer infrastructure investments, many trillions of money are required which cannot be afforded by poor countries.
It was found that highly developed and richer countries are less affected and less vulnerable to the climatic change impacts and therefore, advancement in economic development by poor and underdeveloped countries to slow down climate change leads to increase in their vulnerability. It will be very difficult for economies to mobilise the much needed investment for transformation of the economy to a low-carbon economy. Stable and adequate financial resources for a country, are essential when making agreements and policies to curb Global climate change. In addition, operational capacity, political commitment, and knowledge are also imperative.
Political challenges
The effects and impacts of Greenhouse Gas emissions are not usually immediately felt, but they materialize and mature sometimes later. After Greenhouse Gases (GHG) have been emitted, rise in temperature occurs or peaks within decades while rise in sea levels occurs over centuries. Most of today’s decision and policy makers are political leaders mostly presidents of 196 countries who will attend the December 2015 Paris summit and make the agreements. These leaders will no longer be in the same position of power to initiate the agreements made when the effects of today’s policies on the climatic changes are felt (Gaan, 2008). This brings a big challenge, and slow down the pace of actions to reduce climate change.
Technological difficulties
It was found that the most important and dangerous GHG is carbon dioxide (CO2) that stick in the atmosphere for a long period of time as far as thousands of years. Their impacts on climate change therefore continue even after halting emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Cumulative of GHG emissions in the atmosphere from the past two centuries were found to be the most cause of climate change (Casper, 2010). The rich countries today are rich because of their past energy use and GHG emissions during the development of their infrastructure, technology in industries and their prosperity. Harmful gases produced from the industries such as fluorinated gases, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) impacts greatly to climate change. In addition, advancement in technological field and continual manufacturing of vehicles and machines that use fuels spear head emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere leading to climate change.
The unresolved challenges
It was found that during the...
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