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      A short history of the successes and failures of the international climate change negotiations

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            Revision notes

            We would like to thank all four reviews and the editor for their excellent comments all of which have been taken on board.

            At the highest level we have:

            1. Included a review of COPs 8-13, 16-17 and 27 as requested by the reviewers.

            2. Included a summary of “Loss and damage”

            3. Included reference to major reports suggested by the reviewers and the Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter entitled “Laudato Si’ – On the Care of our common home”

            4. Included reference to the initial article and book chapter (Maslin, 2020 and 2021) that form the basis of this new manuscript

            5. Added an acknowledgement section

            6. Cut out Figure 4 as no longer relavent

            Because there have been so many changes and contributions from all three authors we have not been able to track all the changes.



            The last 30 years have been a period of intense and continuous international negotiations to deal with climate change. During the same 30 years, humanity has doubled the amount of anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There has, however, been progress and some notable successes in the negotiations. In 2015, at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 196 countries adopted the Paris Agreement stating that they would limit global temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and would pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The first review of the Paris agreement was at COP26 in Glasgow with many countries pledging to go net zero emissions by the middle of the century. But currently these pledges, if fulfilled, will only limit global average temperature to 2.4˚C to 2.8˚C. At COP27 in Egypt the core agreements from the Glasgow Climate Pact were maintained and countries finally agreed to set up a Loss and Damage facility – though details of who finances and who can claim are still be to be worked out. This article reviews the key moments in the history of international climate change negotiations and discusses what the key objectives are for future COP meetings.


            Author and article information

            UCL Open: Environment Preprint
            UCL Press
            20 December 2022
            [1 ] University College London
            [2 ] Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, 180 Borough High Street, London, SE1 1LB
            [3 ] The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU, United Kingdom
            Author notes
            Author information

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

            : 14 August 2022
            NERC NE/L002485/1

            All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).
            Earth & Environmental sciences
            climate change,negotiations,UNFCCC,COP26,COP27,Paris Agreement,Kyoto Protocol,net zero,climate emergency,environmental social movements,The Environment,Policy and law,Climate,Sustainable development


            Date: 27 February 2023

            Handling Editor: Dr Lucilla Spini

            Request revision. The Handling Editor requested revisions; the article has been returned to the authors to make this revision.

            2023-02-27 08:57 UTC

            Date: 06 January 2023

            Handling Editor: Dr Lucilla Spini

            This article is a preprint article and has not been peer-reviewed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            2023-01-06 18:08 UTC

            Date: 20 December 2022

            Handling Editor: Dr. Lucilla Spini

            The article has been revised, this article remains a preprint article and peer-review has not been completed. It is under consideration following submission to UCL Open: Environment for open peer review.

            2023-01-06 17:57 UTC

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