Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library

Climate Change

What is CLIMATE CHANGE?

Welcome to the research guide on Climate Change produced by the United Nations Library & Archives Geneva.
We will continue to update this guide to reflect the wealth of climate change resources and the latest developments in the international response. Please check back often to see the new resources added. If you have suggestions for this guide, please share them with us at library-gva@un.org. Thank you for your feedback!

Climate Change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns.

Since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels, which generates greenhouse gases that trap the sun's heat and raise temperatures. Examples of greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change include carbon dioxide and methane. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land use are among the main emitters. Clearing land and forests can also release carbon dioxide. Landfills for garbage are a major source of methane emissions.

Greenhouse gas concentrations are at their highest levels in 2 million years, and emissions continue to rise. As a result, the Earth is now about 1.1° warmer than it was in the late 1800s, and the last decade (2011-2020) was the warmest on record. The consequences of climate change include, among others, intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity. The impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action now, adapting to these impacts in future will be more difficult and costly.

 The UNFCCC secretariat (UN Climate Change) is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. UNFCCC stands for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Convention has near universal membership (197 Parties) and is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Agreement, whos main aim is to keep the global average temperature rise this century as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide an objective source of scientific information about climate change.

Read more about Climate Change and the United Nations

COP26

COP 26

The latest round of global climate talks, COP26 (the 26th conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), took place from 31 October to 13 November 2021 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. Advance unedited versions of outcomes are available from the UNFCCC.

Learn more about COP26 at the dedicated United Nations page, at the UN Climate Change COP26 page, and also at the host country website. You can also find out more through the ECOSOC Briefing on Outcomes of COP26 (14 December 2021).

COP 27 is scheduled to take place from 7-18 November 2022 in Egypt.

Visit the related UN Library & Archives Geneva Conference Primer page on the Environment to find more relevant resources.

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News from the United Nations

Climate Action in Geneva

Geneva Environment Network

Led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with support from the Swiss Federal Office of the Environment, the Geneva Environment Network is a partnership of over 75 environment and sustainable development organizations based in the Geneva region That organizes and hosts meetings on the environment and sustainable development, and promotes public awareness of environmental issues. See upcoming events on their Events page.

SDG Lab

This initiative led by UN Geneva - with support from the Governments of Switzerland, China and Nigeria, the University of Geneva and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) - focuses on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), identifying strategic opportunities to maximize the added-value of International Geneva. See the Toolkit for ideas to get involved.

Graduate Institute Geneva SDG Portal

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies Geneva has made their SDG-related activities and research available through this online portal, searchable by goal: SDG 13 - Climate Action.

Training resources - Online courses

Open Access Resources

Discover open access materials about climate change available through the UN Library Geneva catalogue Global Search!

And discover more open access electronic resources.

Select UN resources for youth on climate change

SDG Book Club - Goal 13 Climate Action

The SDG Book Club helps youth learn about the Sustainable Development Goals. Browse through reading lists in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish to find books about the SDGs, learn more about what actions you can take to support the SDGs, and connect with SDG Book Club Chapters Around the World.

Climate is changing (activity book)

Part of a series of books by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to familiarize youth with FAO's work and how they can take action to become the Zero Hunger Generation. See HERE for more information and different language versions.

Climate Change Education - UNESCO Associated Schools 4 Climate

The UNESCO Associated School network (ASPnet) as part of the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), has piloted a whole-institution approach to ESD with a focus on climate change. Find out more, and get access to publications such as Getting Climate-Ready: A Guide for Schools on Climate Action and a Resources List (both publications available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic).

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