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Climate justice: revisiting financial commitments to reparations made by the developed world
Climate change mitigation: continuing global progress on the reduction of methane emissions

About this Committee

Thirty years and about 4 billion tons of carbon emissions ago, at a UN conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 154 nations signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a landmark international treaty in which nations agreed to combat ongoing "dangerous human interference within the climate system." The framework of the treaty stipulates that, once every year, the parties of the treaty should meet to (a) assess their progress in fighting climate change and (b) recommend new courses of action if necessary. These yearly meetings (Conferences of the Parties, or COPs) have led to arguably the two most important emissions-reducing agreements so far: the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (at COP 3) and the Paris Agreement in 2015 (COP 21). However, they have also led to some of the most high-profile examples of global diplomatic failure and inaction in the face of climate change: Copenhagen in 2009 (COP 15) and, arguably, Glasgow in 2021 (COP26). As the Glasgow conference illustrated, the objective of the UNFCCC, to limit human interference in the climate system, has not yet been realized, and more must be done to combat the climate crisis. Ultimately, it is up to the delegates who attend the 28th Conference of Parties, COP 28, to determine whether their conference will be remembered by future generations as a success or a failure. This year’s conference will be conducted with two areas where new policy is sorely needed in mind. First, delegates must update the guarantees wealthy countries have made to developing ones about money for investments in infrastructure and to compensate their losses and damages. Secondly, delegates must continue the progress made at past conferences toward reducing methane emissions, with a particular focus on large countries with industrial sources of methane, as well as the issues of deforestation and agriculture, which were all left off past agreements. These topics provide a framework for action going forward, but need not be adhered to as strict guidelines.

© 2023 Houston Area Model United Nations

Dean Zach
Specialized Chair
Tucker Craft
Vice Chair
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