UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - Conference of The Parties 22.5 (UNFCCC)
Head Chair | Katie Lee
Vice-Chair | Se Yeon Kim, Habiiba Malingha
The Conference of the Parties (COP) was created as an annual meeting under the provision of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Their goal is to create international legislation to govern climate change as a collective body, and our goal will be the same. After the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015, some further criticized that the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions would still not be enough. However, some very important aspects of climate change have entered the debate in the last few years as well. We will be focusing on two of these for COP 22.5.
Topic 1 | Building Adaptation Capacity for Vulnerable Communities
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Adaptation capacity describes the ability to deal with the inevitable consequences of climate change. This can range anywhere from increased drought conditions, to rising sea levels, to higher frequencies of extreme weather effects. Often times, these changing climate patterns are most severe in areas where the communities are already vulnerable. Vulnerable can be defined in terms of risk and the lack of capacity to address these issues or ability to access resources. The issue is that most climate related funding goes to developing mitigation technologies, whereas the arguably smarter investment is in adaptation, since you see the greatest localized benefit. Therefore, current efforts made by international efforts are increasingly aimed toward adaptation, with the creation of adaptation specific funds.
Topic 2 | Governance of Geoengineering
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Geoengineering is large scale engineering of the environment to combat or counteract the effects of climate change. Geoengineering typically falls into two categories: carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM). An example of CDR technology is creating forests of artificial trees that sequester carbon dioxide and store it as a liquid that can be transferred to waste sites. An example of SRM is stratospheric aerosol injections, where sulfur dioxide would be injected into the atmosphere and increase the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space. Ideally, these strategies could stop warming, or even bring our climate back to temperatures around pre-industrial levels. However, there can be serious region specific consequences. Though geoengineering has grown in credibility in the scientific world, many still question whether or not states should be even discussing it as a viable solution, and even further, spending money on R&D. Nevertheless, the question is if we should be setting up governance structures for ground rules surrounding geoengineering. Private actors have already started funding R&D, and this is a solution that can be unilaterally implemented with global effects and serious consequences if not carried out properly. This topic will discuss whether or not geoengineering has a place in climate negotiations and if so, what that place is.