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Queen Mary Global Policy Institute

The history of COP and Climate Change - get up-to-speed with our Policy Briefs

The Queen Mary University of London Global Policy Institute has published four Climate Change Policy Briefs covering the history of the international community’s response to climate change and the global evolution of the climate change regime. From the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992 to the present day, our Policy Briefs put the COP26 summit in Glasgow in context.

Published on:
Drax biomass and coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire, England, UK
Drax biomass and coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire, England, UK

The four Policy Briefs cover the development of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from 1990-1992 right up to the 26th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC – or COP26 – held in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November 2021.

A summary of each Policy Brief follows below:

Policy Brief 1: An Introduction to Climate Change and the International Community’s Response
In this Brief, we discuss the development of the UNFCCC from 1990-1992 and review its main provisions, and briefly discuss the factors driving the evolution of the Global Climate Response, including the scientific consensus, developments in advanced economies and the role of global politics.

Policy Brief 2: Global Evolution of The Climate Change Regime: The Kyoto Protocol (1994- 2010)

This Brief discusses the Kyoto Protocol, its key provisions, preparations for its implementation and the developments during its first commitment period (2008-2012). The Brief outlines the key decisions, including the Bali Roadmap (2007), Copenhagen Accords (2009) and the Ambition Gap that arose in the 2010 COP. The Brief concludes by discussing how these developments ultimately shaped the negotiations that led to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Policy Brief 3: Global Evolution of the Climate Change Regime: The Paris Agreement and Road to COP-26 (2011-2019)

This Brief covers the Paris Agreement, the Paris Rule Book's development, and ultimately the importance of COP26 in paving the way for the implementation period. Additionally, the Brief highlights Global Developments that will inform the decisions at COP26: these include the Covid-19 pandemic, the requirement to reach net zero by 2050 and the impact of world politics, including the USA leaving and re-entering the Paris Agreement.

Policy Brief 4: The 26th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP26) 2021
Our final Brief discusses the process leading up to COP26, the importance and interventions made by the UK Government, which holds the COP26 Presidency, as well as expected outcomes of the Glasgow summit.

For media information, contact:

Pete Biggs
International Communications Manager
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