The UN’s Role in Addressing the Climate Emergency

In Alice Bell’s generally insightful piece on climate change (Sixty years of climate change warnings: the indications that were overlooked (and disregarded), 5 July), there is an odd exception. There is no mention of the United Nations. 

Nonetheless, through the assessment reports of the intergovernmental panel on climate change established by the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988, the UN has increased our understanding of climate change. 

The UN has also aided in the establishment of a climate regime based on three international treaties: the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, and the Paris Agreement of 2015. 

It’s also worth noting that consecutive Secretaries of State have issued climate change warnings. “The risks of climate change pose the most critical and pervasive environmental threats ever to the human community’s security and to life on Earth as we know it,” Kofi Annan warned in 1997. We must act on the principle that “precaution now is wiser than panic later” when dealing with a situation that could have such a significant impact on humanity’s future. 

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