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Sustainability: “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”-from the United Nations General Assembly (1987) Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future.

early actions
Early actions:

1949: UN Scientific Conference: on the conservation of resources

1968: UN Economic and Social Council: decided to hold the first “Earth Summit” in 1972

the first earth summit 1972
The First “Earth Summit” 1972
  • UN Scientific Conference on the Human Environment
  • 1972 in Stockholm
  • Recommendations for international environmental action.
  • Established the Governing Council of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
post earth summit
Post Earth Summit:
  • 1987 Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond.
  • 1988 The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • 1989 Montreal Protocol
  • 1992 The UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka The Earth Summit)
the un conference on environment and development
The UN Conference on Environment and Development:
  • 1992 Rio de Janeiro
  • AKA The “Earth Summit”
  • Agenda 21
  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
treaties to protect the environment
Treaties to protect the environment:

Usually two types:

  • Ones that deal with specific locations, entities (i.e., a particular river), or a species.
  • And ones that are global.
treaties to protect the environment1
Treaties to protect the environment:

Each treaty may result in:

  • Regular meetings of the members
  • A secretariat – a small office to facilitate the meetings.
  • A group of scientific advisees.
difficulties in implementing the treaties
Difficulties in implementing the treaties
  • Secretariat may not have power to verify reports from members.
  • Secretariat may not have funding to enforce treaties.
  • Lack of central locations for all of these treaties means that there is overlap and redundancy.
difficulties in implementing the treaties1
Difficulties in implementing the treaties
  • Trade agreements sometimes conflict with Environmental treaties.
  • Members may lack the funds or technology to implement treaties.
united nations work
United Nations work
  • Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
commission on sustainable development csd
Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
  • Created at 1992 Earth Summit.
  • Forum for reviewing progress of Agenda 21.
  • Monitors activities of governments, private sector, etc.
  • The UN Division of Sustainable Development is its secretariat.
the intergovernmental panel on climate change ipcc
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • To study greenhouse warming and climate change
  • To study the global effect of climate change on sea level, food production, water resources, etc.
  • Has established itself as the state of the art interpretation of data.
un framework convention on climate change
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Signing of this treaty began at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
  • Recognized that the climate system is a shared resource.
  • Kyoto Protocol is an addition to the treaty.
un framework convention on climate change1
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • Climate Change Secretariat is located in Bonn, Germany
  • Coordinates with the IPCC and the GEF.
  • Major agreement on Carbon Equity:
    • per capita emissions should be more equitable across the world
action within countries
Action within countries
  • Climate change – need to change over to Carbon-neutral sources.
    • Cap and trade of Carbon dioxide
    • Building codes
    • Transportation