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From COP 1 to COP 22, a little history of international summits

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The Paris conference was however the culmination of a long process, twenty-one years after COP 1 in Berlin in 1995, and twenty-three years after the founding conference in Rio in 1992. A look back at these summits that have marked the history of the struggle for the protection of the planet.

Originally, the Earth Summits of Stockholm and Rio

The first real concern or at least serious collective interest for the planet materialized in 1972 with the Earth Summit in Stockholm. The choice of the capital of Sweden is not insignificant, this country being one of the first to set up in the 1960s a vast political program of sustainable development - Sweden is also considered today as the nation the “greenest” in the world, according to the “Global Green Index Economy”. Alas, in the golden age of oil, times are hardly ecological.

It was not until 1992 and the third Earth Summit in Rio to see the lines move. Environmental protection and sustainable development are now considered essential for the future of mankind and the planet. 196 nations including all members of the European Community ratify the Framework Convention resulting from the Rio Earth Summit, which involves meeting every year in order to maintain efforts. These large annual meetings are called "Conference of Parties" (Conference of Parties), the COP famous. The first conference, known as COP 1, took place in Berlin in 1995. Each year a new COP takes place regularly, until the most recent, COP 21 in Paris in December 2015.

From COP 3 in Kyoto to COP 22 in Marrakech

Not all COPs have comparable media coverage. Most of them are content "only" to implement the modalities decided upon at key conferences. Among these is the COP 3 of 1997, with the famous Kyoto Protocol. For the first time, this involves imposing efforts on the signatory parties to the Rio framework conference, in this case to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Alas, the protocol is not very restrictive, leaving the possibility to the nations to sign it but not to ratify it.

And this is the case for the United States, yet the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China. The whole interest of the following COPs is to succeed in imposing a legally binding text; this is the main issue of COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, already considered at the time to be decisive for the future of the planet, and of significant media resonance. Sadly, once again, Copenhagen's mountain of hope gives birth to a little mouse, imposing no legal constraints. The participants split up on vague promises of research into new energies, and on the desire not to exceed a warming of more than 2 ° by 2100.

In December 2015, the COP 21 in Paris represents the revenge of the COP 15 in Copenhagen, and above all the last hope of managing to avoid the worst. A legally binding international climate agreement was finally reached and enacted in 2016, as the Paris Agreement. These plan to keep global warming below 1.5 °, to limit greenhouse gas emissions in order to achieve carbon neutrality, and in particular to grant aid of 100 billion dollars per year. to developing countries.
Although criticized for its objectives deemed too ambitious or even unrealistic and in fact not very binding, the Paris Agreements symbolically constitute a real and powerful advance since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. In November 2016, the stake for the future COP 22 in Marrakech will consist of starting to translate the decisions endorsed in Paris into concrete actions, and also of focusing on a determining element for the future of the planet: water.

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