Climate and biodiversity: These historic COPs that have marked global climate policy

“The Paris climate agreement is accepted! It was six years ago, during the COP21 in Paris. Laurent Fabius then struck with his hammer the historic approval of a hitherto unprecedented climate agreement. But, as the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) opens this Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland, the carbon footprint of the 197 states committed to limiting their emissions looks mixed. However, when it was established in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio, the Conference of the Parties on the climate, and its little sister focused on biodiversity, seemed promising.

A place for political negotiations, the COPs are above all an opportunity for countries around the world to discuss the risks associated with climate change, and to commit to greater sobriety, by setting themselves ambitious objectives. A look back at the COPs that marked these 26 years of global climate policy.

A first COP between quarrels and divisions

Germany is the first country to host, in 1995, the representatives of the leaders of the signatory countries, for a first COP then called “Climate Conference”. At the time, the industrialized countries were singled out by the developing countries, which were already paying dearly for the price of global warming. Result: impossible to find a consensus on a common commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the global level. The 120 countries present nevertheless take note of the seriousness of global warming. A first.

The disappointment of a promising COP3

Two years later, the third Conference of the Parties takes place in Kyoto, Japan. The drafting of a protocol is then initiated. And for the first time, figures have been put forward. By signing the Kyoto protocol, industrialized countries commit to reducing their emissions by 5.2% of total greenhouse gases compared to 1990, over the next fifteen years.

Restrictive ? Unfortunately, to sign is not to ratify. For the document prepared by the parties to enter into force, it must be ratified by 55 countries. A figure that will only be reached in… 2002! But without the two countries that emit the most greenhouse gases in the world, China and the United States, which refuse to ratify it.

COP21 and its historic agreement

Until 2015, the successive COPs only resulted in extensions, more or less binding, of the Kyoto protocol, which was so weak. So, when the COP21 opens in Paris, all hopes seem to be permitted.

Between 1992 and 2015, global greenhouse gas emissions increased by more than 50%, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition. And some countries, developing in the 1990s, have seen their carbon footprint skyrocket. It is therefore in the urgency that the 150 heads of state present decide to once again take the pen to write a document this time more binding. Say days later, after lively and heated discussions, a consensus is finally found.

On December 12, 2015, Laurent Fabius ratified the Paris Agreement, which urges the international community to keep global warming below 2 ° C. And obliges the signatory countries to publish their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The hammer blow is given under the applause of the actors of this moment which remains, even today, historical.