These days there are numerous climate action events happening around the world. COP26, Paris Climate Agreement, and Fridays For Future or Climate Strike are probably a few you have heard of. What exactly are these events? What is the history behind them? What other events occur that we can be a part of? Let’s dive in and take a closer look at some important climate action events.
- Earth Day
April 22, 1970 was when the first earth day event took place. The idea for the event was inspired by the student anti-war movement amid which Senator Gaylord Nelson, the junior senator from Wisconsin wanted to incorporate awareness about environmental pollution. He wanted to organize a teach-in on college campuses to the national media. Denis Hayes, a young activist was recruited to organize the campus teach-ins. The day April 22 was chosen to maximize the greatest student participation since it fell between Spring break and final exams. Since 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries joined the movement which we now recognize as our global Earth Day event.
- Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol operationalizes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This was the first agreement in history between nations to mandate the reduction of greenhouse gases and took place on 11 December, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Due to a complex ratification process, it came into effect on 16 February, 2005. The terms of the treaty included a pledge for countries to reduce emissions by an average of 5% by the period 2008-2012; the reduction targets varied depending on how industrially advanced a country was. The USA however, rejected the treaty. Currently, there are 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
- Global Day of Action
The first Global Day of Action protest took place in 2005 during the UN Climate Talks in Montreal. The protests were intended to bring global attention to the man-made causes of global warming. A major focus of the protests is to demand elected representatives to honor the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. The date for the Global Day of Action is set to coincide with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a meeting of world leaders from 189 nations that meet annually to discuss climate change.
You probably heard of COP26. The COP stands for Conference of Parties and is an annual meeting of all States that are Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention. The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in March, 1995. The purpose of the COP summits are to review the implementation of the Convention and the national communications and emission inventories submitted by Parties. The COP then assesses the progress made in achieving the goals of the convention. The COP Presidency rotates among the five recognized UN regions and the venue also varies accordingly. Through these COP conferences, many treaties have been formed.
- The Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement was adopted by 196 Parties at the COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. It came into effect on 4 November 2016. This is an important event because it was the first ever legally binding international treaty on climate change that would unite all nations into a common cause to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. The terms of the agreement are to make efforts to limit global warming to below 2 to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels and achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.
- Fridays For Future
You have probably heard of Greta Thunberg, a notable young climate activist. Fridays For Future was a youth organized movement led by her where young climate activists would protest in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks. When it first occurred in August 2018, Greta took to social media to promote the movement which soon became viral. This sparked several school strikes, walk outs and climate marches around the world.
Would you like to be more involved in climate action events happening around the world? Check out this link and find out more!
Written by Hanyia Ahmed, Class of 2022