Emilyn Lai / Staff reporter
In 2005 the United Nations held their eleventh Climate Change conference, resulting in progressive strides to tackle climate change. 16 years later, as a country and planet, people are looking back at look at how far humanity has come as a group, and whether the world has been successful in battling the climate crisis.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Montreal in November of 2005. At the convention, the UNFCCC secretariat discussed and closed with over 40 decisions that were made to better prepare the earth for climate change, which covered topics on technology, how we are planning to adapt to the climate crisis and what the group’s plans were past 2012.
The Kyoto Protocol also came into effect in early 2005, a treaty that was signed in 1997, with an aim to commit developed countries to limit and reduce their use of greenhouse gases. This was a big step forward for the climate community, and it powered climate activists to keep moving forward.
Greta Thunberg at 2019 climate change rally in Denver, Colorado
Although governments and big groups were the ones to enact change in the past, more individuals, particularly younger people, are now becoming active. Groups like the Youth Climate Movement and influencers like Greta Thunberg inspire many people all over the world to speak up.
Climate strike in Vancouver on September 27th, 2019
In September of 2019, a series of climate strikes occurred globally, with an estimated four million participants across about 150 countries. These are thought to be the largest climate protests in world history.
Despite this, the most recent climate conference, held in Madrid in 2019 was not as promising. According to a New York Times Article by Somini Sengupta, Titled “U.N. Climate Talks End With Few Commitments and a ‘Lost’ Opportunity” , the results of the conference were disappointing. During the meeting, the United States withdrew from the Paris climate agreement and China and India also resisted to more ambitious climate targets. The conference proved the gap that was between scientists who know what the earth needs and the world leaders who are the ones who have the power to change things.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the next scheduled UN climate conference is set to happen in November of 2021. After over a year and watching things like the Texas snowstorms happen and reaching record levels of CO2, it will be very interesting to see what decisions are made at the next meeting, and what the world plans to do about the imminent growth of the climate crisis.