Friday, 20 April 2012

National Climate Change Policy and the Role of Citizens in the Post-Durban Era

By L.Padmini Batuwitatge

The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has confirmed that climate change is already occurring, mostly as a result of human activities. Many natural systems are being affected by regional climatic changes, particularly temperature increases, changes of rainfall patterns, and extended draughts, which are different from what we have been experiencing before.

As a response to climate change, the global community adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) twenty years ago on 9 May 1992. The Convention entered into force on 21st March 1994 and it now has 197 State Parties, making the Convention one of the most universally-supported/agreed Multilateral Environmental Conventions.  

The ultimate objective of the Convention, and any related legal instruments that the Conference of Parties may adopt, is “to stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. It was further stated that such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened, and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.