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

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            Revision notes

            The reviewers have asked for additional content in the manuscript and these have been added.


            1. Global Stocktake process has beena dded to the COP15 section with a clear reference to COP28 in Dubai

            2. Companies and Scope 1,2 and 3 have been added - and this has been made into a new section

            3. Global Biodiversity Framework has been added as a new section

            4. New section on green-washing has been added as well in the new Corporate section


            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
            19 April 2023
            [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
            : 20 April 2023
            Funded by: funder-id http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000270, Natural Environment Research Council;

            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: 20 April 2023

            Handling Editor: Dr Lucilla Spini

            Editorial decision: Accept. This revised article has been accepted following peer review and it is suitable for publication in UCL Open: Environment.

            2023-04-20 10:09 UTC

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