Climate blog


Published by Sam Page on 08 September 2015

Image 1. Why is the 2015 Paris Climate Conference called COP21?

It is the 21st Conference of the Parties (or “COP”) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations body which is responsible for climate and based in Bonn, Germany. The COP is the UNFCCC “parliament”, which meets each year at global conferences where unanimous decisions are made to combat climate change. COP21 will take place at the same time as CMP11, the 11th meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which oversees the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and the decisions made to increase its effectiveness. COP21 will be held from 30 November to 11 December 2015 at a site in Paris-Le Bourget.

2. How many people are expected to attend the 2015 Paris Climate Conference?

In total, 40,000 participants are expected at the Paris-Le Bourget site (delegates representing countries, observers, civil society and journalists): 20,000 people will be officially accredited and will have access to the Conference itself, while the others will be able to take part in debates, see exhibitions and attend talks or screenings in the civil society area which will be built very close to the conference centre.

3. How much time is needed to observe climate trends?

A period of 30 years is needed to observe climate trends and characterize a climate (source: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report).

4. Which Greenhouse Gas causes the most damage to our atmosphere?

Nitrous Oxide: This Greenhouse Gas is 310 times as damaging as carbon dioxide, while methane is 21 times as potent. Natural Greenhouse gases absorb and distribute solar radiation within the earth’s atmosphere. Due to this natural greenhouse effect, the average temperature on earth is around 15°C. Without it, the temperature would be -18°C. However, human activities have caused a dangerous increase in all types of GHGs and this is responsible for climate change, other GHGs include nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

5. What are the environmental risks associated with fracking in the UK?

Fugitive Methane gas emissions that escape from random rock fractures, contamination of the ground water by toxic chemicals, seismic activity and damage to protected areas, including Sites of Special Scientific Interest, are all serious risks that come with fracking in the UK. Read more here:


6. In the UK, is it agriculture, aviation or waste that emits the most Greenhouse Gases?

Emissions from agriculture account for around 10%, while those from aviation and waste represent around 6% and 4% respectively, of all UK greenhouse gas emissions, with electricity generation causing the greatest emissions (25%), according to the Committee on Climate Change

7. What is the cost of damages linked to natural disasters in the past twenty years?

16 billion is the estimated cumulative cost of insured damages linked to natural disasters between 1988 and 2011 (source: French Federation of Insurance Companies – FFSA).

8. Which Protocol, signed in 1997, requires around thirty countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Kyoto. Under the Kyoto Protocol, around thirty countries were required to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 19% between 1990 and the period 2008-2012.

9. How much is the UK government planning to pay in subsidies for the new Hinckley Point Nuclear Power Station?

British consumers could pay £17 billion in potentially unnecessary subsidies to fund construction of the country's first nuclear power station in a generation, the European Commission has said. Subsidies for on-shore, wind-powered, electricity generation have recently been cut.

10. What does this image symbolize?


Vulnerability. This term denotes the risk of being subject to, or negatively affected by, the harmful effects of climate change. It depends on the nature, scale and pattern of the climate change to which a system is exposed, as well as on the sensitivity and adaptation capacity of the system. The countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change include small islands and certain African countries.