Will long-term targets ensure reduced climate changes

October 22, 2021

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This article is written by Ridhi Mittal, a student of Symbiosis Law School, Noida. It talks about what are the different long-term targets framed in order to reduce the changes occurring in our climate.


Climate change basically refers to the change in temperature and weather patterns of a particular place. It is a long-term shift in the patterns. Often the weather is confused with climate but the basic difference that lies between the two is that weather changes are short-term changes but climate changes take a long time to evolve; they witness pattern changes for decades and centuries. These climate changes have gone worse due to problems like global warming, ozone layer depletion, and an increase in pollution. To curb the climate change, many measures are taken by different countries, separately as well as collectively with other nations. Countries soon realised that coming together and ensuring measures is better since it is not the problem of one but all. Some of the conventions formed by every country joining hands against climate change are the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Rio Earth Summit.

Cause of climate change

The average global temperature has touched heights. From the period of 1906 to 2005, it rose for about 0.74 degree celsius. Then from pre-industrial time to 2015, the temperature got 1 degree warmer. These changes in climate occur due to a number of reasons, some of which are listed below :

Measures to curb climate change 

Climatic changes have a negative effect on the environment. It is absolutely mandatory for everyone to take measures in order to cope with the changes and not let them get any worse than how it already is. Both individual and state-level measures are required to do so. Some of the measures that can help in maintaining the climatic changes are as follows:

Role of International Law in improving the climate

Due to the exhaustive human activity on earth, climate changes took a negative turn therefore, most of the countries came together and started working upon climate changes and took measures to curb them. One such conference was the Rio Summit or we can say the Earth Summit. The Rio Summit can be referred to by other titles as well, namely, ‘The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development’ or ‘Rio 2012’ or ‘Rio+20’ or ‘Earth Summit 2012’. This summit was the third international conference discussing sustainable development by aiming at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community. 

The Rio Summit was held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the objective of sustainable development. This conference marked the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio in 1992. States participating in the 1992 meeting politically endorsed the objective of “sustainable development” as achieving economic, environmental, and social development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In Rio, member states decided to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals and converge with the post-2015 development agenda

Green economy policies were adopted at the conference. An intergovernmental process was also established by the state parties under the General Assembly in order to prepare strategies for sustainable development financing. Governments also agreed to strengthen the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on several fronts with action to be taken during the 67th session of the General Assembly. A High-Level Political Forum for the purpose of sustainable development was also decided to be established.  A request by the government for the United Nations Statistical Commission was made in consultation with relevant United Nations system entities and other relevant organizations. This was done to launch a programme of work in the area of measures of progress to complement gross domestic product in order to better inform policy decisions. A 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption was adopted by the state parties. 

The Rio+20 organizers indicate that state parties were expected to adopt clear and focused practical measures for implementing sustainable development, based on many examples of success they had seen over the last 20 years. However, they were mixed views among participants and certain issues were as follows: 

Effectiveness of the measures taken 

Two highlights of the Rio summit were an agreement to develop a set of global sustainable development goals (SDGs) and to establish a high-level political forum on sustainable development. Using the green economy for the purpose of achieving sustainable development was discussed as an outcome. Promotion of corporate sustainability, strengthening the United Nations Environment Programme, and taking steps to go beyond the gross domestic product to assess the well-being of the country were also talked about. The desired future has its focus on improving gender equality and recognising the important role that indigenous knowledge plays in sustainable development. The measures taken are pretty effective, for instance, the decrease in the use of plastic. It was one of the measures to reduce the use of plastics as plastic is hazardous to both health and the environment. We can see how almost every country has started to become a plastic-freeze Nation. This is also a clear example of the positive effects of long-term goals. Setting long-term goals is a great measure as to when we talk at the state level. Bringing a change is a process that takes time, therefore, setting long-term goals should be the prime objective and to achieve these long-term goals, short-term goals should be framed.


To conclude, we can say the climate is what we expect and the weather is what we get. Nowadays, the climatic changes are getting worse due to the inconvenient behaviour of mankind which lead us to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer. Also,  doing agriculture beyond limits releases gases that can be very harmful to the masses and to the climate. A solution to this was that a few steps were taken to protect the climate like installing solar panels and using LED lights instead of bulbs. Moreover, to improve the conditions, conferences like the Rio Summit took place which were very effective for the climate and brought a change in human life. The conference held was the third international conference that was set up to discuss sustainable development in respect of environmental goals of the global community which also adopted the green economy policies; besides many more policies were acquired to shape the environment. In the end, it had a consistently positive impact on oceans which was helpful to restore the health and reliance of ocean and marine ecosystems and also maintain biodiversity.


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