Systems and Policy Analysis of the UNFCCC Conferences of Parties Process
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The objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is to “stabilize greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” (Article 2, UNFCCC, 1992). This treaty is not legally binding to its signers in terms of reducing GHG’s and instead facilitates meetings to set protocols for gases that contribute to climate change at annual Conferences of the Parties (COP). The UNFCCC has 196 members and is preparing for the major Conferences of the Parties 21 (COP21) in Dec. 2015 to finalize a protocol to create a new, legally binding agreement on reducing GHG emissions (UNFCCC, 2015). This first of its kind global treaty for GHG’s will be signed as the 2015 Paris Protocol. This Protocol has a framework to keep global temperatures from rising above the threshold of 2o (3.6o F) to avoid multiple regime shifts of natural, social and economic capital (UNFCCC, 2015). A review of structural (organizational) and dynamic (temporal) components of the COP21 process was conducted to: Develop a policy representation of primary system structures and flows in COP21 processes and policies. Construct and apply a topological representation of primary system dynamics (and flows) specific to scenarios following three different Paris Protocol climate policy outcomes. Assess climate scenario outcomes based on the previous objectives and develop COP21 policy recommendations.