Years back in 18th and 19th century when Industrial Revolution broke out in Europe, world started to take a different shape. Social conditions were severely changed through these economic effects of industrial revolutions. Leading the charge was western european countries including Britain, France, Germany, Spain etc. These countries started to improve their social standards through the new scientific and technological means. The quick advancements of Western European nations soon transformed them into industrial mights with technology as the key to their dominance in future. These nations started to spread use of technology to their colonies throughout the world including India, US, Australia, Canada etc. US later became an independent nation and had its own band of intellectuals who were also in tune with the european scientists and made several technological achievements. BY the beginning of 20th century Britain, France, Germany, US, Spain, Dutch, Belgium and only country from rest of the world - Japan were technological advanced and had special capabilities due to their dominant industrial strength compared to medieval age technologies of asia, africa and south america. Thus productions increased massively by supply of cheap labour from around the world and these nations produced modern mechanised goods to improve the standard pf social livings of their countries.
World War 2 - being watershed for most of the modern day events - resulted in the end of European colonial regime and new nascent nations throughout the world evolved inhereting their colonial master's cultural, economical and social traditions. But technological culture was not the same as most of the technologies evolved was by Europeans and after exiting the colonial stage, scientific researches and advancements followed by these new nations were outdated and thus their tech-march stopped but developed industrial states being master of this weapon carried on their scientific researches with thumping successes and still dominate the world community.
Now between these social-economic changes the ill-effects of these technological addresses commonly called factories gave by-products which were unhealthy to human population. So these factories were located generally in no-man's land outside the peripheral of cities. But this was not the solution of the problem and was just extension as now the nature started to bear these by-products. Initially the levels of these by-products commonly called "pollutants" was very low as compared to healing capacity of nature. So until start of 20th century there was no visible harm of strong scale. But 20th century witnessed massive industrial productions and rapid tech advancements. Add to it the devastations of 2 world wars compounded with mammoth productions of advanced weapons made this world unhealthy place to sit in. Again after WW-2, these productions of war machines even excelled and alongwith it more fields of technologies were created which aimed at converting this world to mechanised world. By 1970's backward nations till 1950 also joined the band to grow as industrial mights. Addition of India and China to this league which is home to around 35% of world population, even dwarfed the european productions by the last decade of 20th century and has overtaken most to hit top 5 slots in pollution.
But now the pollutants were in formidable capacity to hurt the balance of nature. Scientists who were the mothers of these pollutants now started to amend their mistakes by neutralising them. Not much has happened rather these anti-pollution rallies have ended up in raking millions of dollars and aiding capitalism in this field. Still world community came forward at times to hold their hands together in making this world a cleaner place for future generations to grow.
First effort in this direction by global community towards environmental protection was the organisation of "UN conference on Human Environment" at Stockholm in 1972. This generated awareness among policy makers throughout the world over the importance of protection of environment. This resulted in many measures taken by national governments in this regard. A United Nations Environment Pro gramme was set up after this, which continue to act as global catalyst for action to protect the environment. In 1983, UN UN set up World Commission o Environment and Development, headed by Harlem Brundtlad of Norway and submitted its report advocating the concept of "sustainable development" on an alternative approach to one based on economic growth.
Followed these efforts which were just theoretical and ideal in nature, more effort was needed to face the menace. Smart governments merely cried some beautiful lines in support of these efforts without any concrete step in attaining this development. Though some western organisations and some factions of government started taking this seriously but still nobody was ready to compromise with industrial production which would definitely stall their growth.
Next big step or rather the real framework was designed in 1992 at Brazilian city of Rio de Jannerio from June 3-22, 1992. Some 178 countries and more environmental organisations participated in the summit. On the basis of long deliberations involving various stakeholders from different communities a 5 specific point resolution was finalised. These included Agenda 21, which presents a framework for protection of environment in 21st century; Rio Declaration, which aimed at adopting practices for sustainable development; Protection of Forests, Biodiversity Convention and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which called upon developed countries to adopt further measures to reduce further emission of greenhouse gases.
Then came in Kyoto Protocol which was in effect a real concrete step by world community in facing the challenge. This consists of 28 articles and committed developed countries to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by at least 5% below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012. It should be prominently noted that US has not ratified the treaty and majority of developed nations has failed to meet the targets promised. This protocol laid special emphasis on responsibilities of the developed countries and made them responsible for degrading the world green health. One must surely read the article about KYOTO PROTOCOL to have a deeper understanding of this effort.
The came Bali Plan of Action - Dec. 2007 which was attended by around 10,000 delegates from 190 countries and other organisations. Due to irresponsible outlook of developed nations particularly US, no fresh targets could be finalised. Yet this presented an ambitious programme of multilateral work to tackle the challenge of climate change. Finally, participant countries agreed to continue with climate change negotiations and finalize new measures beyond 2012 at the Copenhagen Conference in Dec. 2009, which is about to start in few hours. The Bali Conference triggered an intensive series of negotiations leading up to Copenhagen Conference in Dec 2009. A small conference at Pozhnan, Poland took place in Dec. 2008 among many in last 2 years.
Now this was the history of world climate talks and conferences and i think one must now have a clear concept of what has happened since last centuries and in last few years which has resulted in world waiting Copenhagen conference starting on Dec 7, 2009.
Next in better understanding of this is differences between developed and developing countries on their future commitments which may result in collapse of this highly important climate talks. Developing countries want developed countries to bear the cuts in emissions as developed are responsible for majority of emissions. Again developing countries dont have enough financial resources to spend heavily on technology and other measures to counter these emissions, and thus they demand adequate financial assistance and technology to balance this out.
Again looking at some facts. As of August 27, 2008 China surpassed the United States as the biggest emitter in the world of CO2 from power generation, according to the Center for Global Development. On a per capita basis, however, the emission by the power sector in the U.S. is still nearly four times that in China. The top ten power sector emitters in the world in absolute terms are China, United States, India, Russia, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, and South Korea. If the 27 member states of the European Union are counted as a single country, the E.U. would rank as the third biggest CO2 polluter, after China and the United States. In per capita terms, emissions from the U.S. power sector are the second highest in the world. The production of electricity in the U.S. produces about 9.5 tons of CO2 per person per year, compared to 2.4 tons per person per year in China, 0.6 in India, and 0.1 in Brazil. The average per capita emission from electricity and heat production in the E.U. is 3.3 tons per year. Only Australia, at greater than 10 tons per year, emits more power-related emissions per person than the U.S does.
Thus developing countries like China, India, South Africa though big in absolute numbers have low per capita emissions when compared to their huge dependent population. Thus its really unfair to expect cuts from India and othr developing countries. But lets see what happens.
Well this is what the current context of world climate change conference and i think i have incorporated enough data and simple language for a layman to understand real picture behind the stage since its birth.
Hope u guys enjoyed this...some links have also been embedded for more detailed reading...
And please do leave some comments to improve my future articles so that it may be easy for a layman to understand the real concept. I will post more such articles regarding issues of world importance which remain unclear in the minds of common man.