Roadmap For Paris Climate Talks: Part I


We are going to publish a series of articles on Paris Climate Talks and the underlying issues.

In this article, we will explore what is the ‘conference of parties’, and why we will hear more about it as the year-end approaches. We will also understand the how planet’s future could hinge on a deal in Paris.

What is the CoP-21 and its origin?

  • The annual meeting is called CoP, or Conference of Parties, ‘parties’ being a reference to the 196 signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), that came into force in 1994.
  • The Paris meeting is the 21st meeting of the CoP, and hence it is being called CoP-21.

Lets understand the objective of COP-21 

  • To deliver an agreement that will facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the only way to mitigate climate change.

What are the options to achieve this objective

  • Move to processes that do not release carbon dioxide, or minimises their emission. In terms of energy, sources like solar, wind or nuclear.
  • Make use of better technology to make industrial processes more efficient, and lower carbon emissions.


What is the quantum of emissions to be cut?

  • The purpose is to restrict the global surface temperature within 2-degree Celsius as compared to pre-industrial times.
  • The 2-degree target is a certain maximum amount of carbon dioxide that can be left accumulated in the atmosphere, often referred to as carbon budget.
  • Scientists argue that at the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions, the budget would be exhausted in the next 25 years.

Why is it difficult to cut this quantum of emissions?

  • Almost every human/industrial activity involves the use of energy which is produced primarily by burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, etc; all of which have high carbon content.
  • Cutting emissions will mean slowing these activities and, thus, economic development.

There is more serious impact on developed countries

The emission cuts for richer and developed countries would mean

  • Altering their lifestyles
  • Giving up big private vehicles to embrace public transport
  • Reducing consumption <This would have impact on countries whose economy is based on consumption>
Published with inputs from Pushpendra
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