Earth Summit

Pre-2020 actions

  • The pre-2020 actions refer to existing obligations under the Kyoto Protocol where only rich nations are obliged to take mitigation (emission cut) actions.
  • Though the developed countries had in 2012 agreed to undertake their aggregate emission cuts by at least 18% below the 1990 levels, most of them have not even ratified the decision.
  • Supporting a group of `Like Minded Developing Countries’, India, too, had raised the demand of including pre-2020 actions of rich nations in the agenda of the ongoing COP23.


Earth Summit

  • It was a United Nations summit held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1992.
  • At the summit three conventions were adopted:
  1. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also known as Rio Convention
  2. UN Convention on Biological Diversity
  3. UN Convention to Combat Desertification


United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

  • It is an international treaty for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It entered into force in 1994.
  • Nations that have ratified the Convention are known as Parties to the Convention.
  • The parties meet every year to discuss climate change strategy. These meetings are called Conference of the Parties (COP).
  • The third COP was held in Kyoto, Japan where the Kyoto Protocol came in to existence.


Kyoto protocol

  • It is an international treaty that commits its signatories to develop national programs to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.
  • The gases include:
  1. Carbon dioxide
  2. Methane
  3. Nitrous oxide
  4. Hydrofluorocarbons
  5. Perfluorocarbons
  6. Sulphur hexafluoride
  • It was adopted in Kyoto on 11 December 1997 and it entered into force on 16 February 2005.
  • In 2001, in Marrakesh (Morocco), the detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted (they are referred to as the “Marrakesh Accords).
  • Its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.
  • Its second commitment period began on 1 January 2013 and will end in 2020.


Common but differentiated responsibilities

  • The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed country parties to emission reduction targets.
  • Recognising that the developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of Green house gases emissions in the atmosphere (as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity).
  • The Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.


Parties to Kyoto are classified as:

Annex I: Parties include the industrialised countries that were members of the OECD in 1992, plus countries with Economies In Transition (the EIT Parties), including the Russian Federation, the Baltic States and several Central and Eastern European States.

Annex II: Parties consist of the OECD members of Annex I, but not the EIT Parties.

  • They are required to provide financial resources to enable developing countries to undertake emissions reduction activities under the Convention and to help them adapt to adverse effects of climate change.

Non Annex I: Parties are mostly developing countries.

  • Certain groups of developing countries are recognised by the Convention as being especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, including countries with low-lying coastal areas and those prone to desertification and drought.
  • Others are more vulnerable to the potential economic impacts of climate change response measures.

Least Developed Countries: The 49 Parties who are given special consideration under the Convention on account of their limited capacity to respond to climate change and adapt to its adverse effects.


Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms

  • Under the Protocol, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures.
  • However, the Protocol also offers them an additional means to meet their targets by way of three marked based mechanisms. They are:
  1. Emission Trading: It permits the parties to Kyoto Protocol to buy emission permits for greenhouse gases from other countries to help meet their domestic emission reduction targets.
  2. Joint Implementation: In this, investment is made by one party in emission reduction projects of another party.  In this, parties involved are usually Annex I.
  3. Clean Development Mechanism: In this countries can meet their domestic emission reduction targets by buying greenhouse gas reduction units from non Annex I parties.


Second Commitment period of Kyoto Protocol

  • Second commitment period of protocol began on 1 January 2013 and will end in 2020.
  • In the period of second commitment the Paris Agreement is adopted.


Paris Agreement

  • It was adopted in Paris on 12 December 2015.
  • It marks the latest step in the evolution of the UN climate change regime and builds on the work undertaken under the Convention.
  • It charts a new course in the global effort to combat climate change.
  • It seeks to accelerate and intensify the actions and investment needed for a sustainable low carbon future.



  • Its central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise in this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • It also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
Section : Environment & Ecology