Explainer: What is mitigation and how countries are tackling climate change

Mitigation, in the context of climate change, refers to efforts to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere and curb emissions’ release. This includes strategies such as decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released, enhancing natural sinks like forests, and implementing cleaner technologies across various sectors.

Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), countries are tasked with formulating and implementing mitigation programs tailored to their capacities and responsibilities. These programs span various sectors, including energy, transport, buildings, industry, agriculture, forestry, and waste management. Mitigation strategies can take the form of policies, incentive schemes, investment programs, and technological advancements, all aimed at reducing GHG emissions and enhancing carbon sinks.

Key initiatives such as the Kyoto Protocol have set emission targets for developed nations while developing countries have adopted specific mitigation actions with support from their counterparts. The Copenhagen Accord, the Cancun Agreements, and the subsequent Paris Agreement have further solidified the commitment to mitigation efforts globally. Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) outline countries’ targets and strategies for reducing emissions and building resilience, showcasing the diversity of approaches taken worldwide.

Moreover, an increasing focus is on mitigating deforestation and forest degradation through activities like REDD-plus, which aims to conserve forest carbon stocks and promote sustainable forest management. Additionally, collaborative efforts within the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization, and the UNFCCC are underway to address emissions from international aviation and maritime transport.

While numerous measures are being implemented globally to mitigate climate change, the UNFCCC emphasises the importance of considering developing countries’ specific needs and concerns in the process. The Kyoto Protocol also underscores the necessity of minimising adverse impacts on developing nations. To facilitate a comprehensive assessment of these impacts and recommend suitable actions, the Conference of the Parties (COP) has established a forum on the impacts of the implementation of response measures, which is also integral to the Paris Agreement.

Through concerted global cooperation and individual country commitments, the world strives to combat climate change by implementing comprehensive mitigation strategies across various sectors and fostering sustainable practices to ensure a more resilient future for our planet. Read more about climate mitigation under the Convention here. (nsh)

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