United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Encyclopedia
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

(UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 produced at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit
Earth Summit
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992.-Overview:...

, held in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 from June 3 to 14, 1992. The objective of the treaty is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The treaty itself set no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. In that sense, the treaty is considered legally non-binding. Instead, the treaty provides for updates (called "protocols") that would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

, which has become much better known than the UNFCCC itself.

The UNFCCC was opened for signature on May 9, 1992, after an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee produced the text of the Framework Convention as a report following its meeting in New York from April 30 to May 9, 1992. It entered into force on March 21, 1994. As of May 2011, UNFCCC has 194 parties.

One of its first tasks was to establish national greenhouse gas inventories
Greenhouse gas inventory
Greenhouse gas inventories are a type of emission inventory that are developed for a variety of reasons. Scientists use inventories of natural and anthropogenic emissions as tools when developing atmospheric models. Policy makers use inventories to develop strategies and policies for emissions...

of greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 (GHG) emissions and removals, which were used to create the 1990 benchmark levels for accession of Annex I countries to the Kyoto Protocol and for the commitment of those countries to GHG reductions. Updated inventories must be regularly submitted by Annex I countries.

The UNFCCC is also the name of the United Nations Secretariat
United Nations Secretariat
The United Nations Secretariat is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and it is headed by the United Nations Secretary-General, assisted by a staff of international civil servants worldwide. It provides studies, information, and facilities needed by United Nations bodies for...

 charged with supporting the operation of the Convention, with offices in Haus Carstanjen
Haus Carstanjen
Haus Carstanjen is a castle on the River Rhine in Plittersdorf, a suburb of Bonn, Germany near Bad Godesberg.- History :The original building dates back to 1716. In 1881 Wilhelm Adolf von Carstanjen acquired the building which he rebuilt into its present classical castle form. After 1950 it was...

, Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. From 2006 to 2010 the head of the secretariat was Yvo de Boer
Yvo de Boer
Yvo de Boer was the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from 4 September 2006 to 1 July 2010...

; on May 17, 2010 his successor, Christiana Figueres
Christiana Figueres
Karen Christiana Figueres Olsen was appointed Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on 17 May 2010, succeeding Yvo de Boer. She had been a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team since 1995, involved in both UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol negotiations. She has...

 from Costa Rica has been named. The Secretariat, augmented through the parallel efforts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 (IPCC), aims to gain consensus through meetings and the discussion of various strategies.

The parties to the convention have met annually from 1995 in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was concluded and established legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Annex I, Annex II countries and developing countries


Parties to UNFCCC are classified as:
  • Annex I countries – industrialized countries and economies in transition
  • Annex II countries – developed countries which pay for costs of developing countries
  • Non Annex I countries - Developing countries.


Annex I countries which have ratified the Protocol have committed to reduce their emission levels of greenhouse gasses to targets that are mainly set below their 1990 levels. They may do this by allocating reduced annual allowances to the major operators within their borders. These operators can only exceed their allocations if they buy emission allowances
Emissions trading
Emissions trading is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants....

, or offset their excesses through a mechanism that is agreed by all the parties to UNFCCC.

Annex II countries are a sub-group of the Annex I countries. They comprise the OECD members, excluding those that were economies in transition
Transition economy
A transition economy or transitional economy is an economy which is changing from a centrally planned economy to a free market. Transition economies undergo economic liberalization, where market forces set prices rather than a central planning organization and trade barriers are removed,...

 in 1992.

Developing countries are not required to reduce emission levels unless developed countries supply enough funding and technology. Setting no immediate restrictions under UNFCCC serves three purposes:
  • it avoids restrictions on their development, because emissions are strongly linked to industrial capacity
  • they can sell emissions credits to nations whose operators have difficulty meeting their emissions targets
  • they get money and technologies for low-carbon investments from Annex II countries.


Developing countries may volunteer to become Annex I countries when they are sufficiently developed.

Some opponents of the Convention argue that the split between Annex I and developing countries is unfair, and that both developing countries and developed countries need to reduce their emissions unilaterally. Some countries claim that their costs of following the Convention requirements will stress their economy. Other countries point to research, such as the Stern Report, that calculates the cost of compliance to be less than the cost of the consequences of doing nothing.

Annex I countries


There are 41 Annex I countries and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 is also a member. These countries are classified as industrialized countries and countries in transition:

Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

,
Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

,
Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

,
Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

,
Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

,
Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

,
Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

,
Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

,
Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

,
Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

,
Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

,
France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

,
Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

,
Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

,
Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

,
Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

,
Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

,
Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

,
Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

,
Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

,
Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a doubly landlocked alpine country in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland to the west and south and by Austria to the east. Its area is just over , and it has an estimated population of 35,000. Its capital is Vaduz. The biggest town is Schaan...

,
Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

,
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

,
Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

,
Monaco
Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

,
Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

,
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

,
Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

,
Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

,
Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

,
Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

,
Russian Federation,
Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

,
Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

,
Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

,
Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

,
Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

,
Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

,
Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

,
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

,
United States of America

Annex II countries


There are 23 Annex II countries and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 was removed from the Annex II list in 2001 at its request to recognize its economy as a transition economy. These countries are classified as developed countries which pay for costs of developing countries:

Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

,
Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

,
Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

,
Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

,
Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

,
Finland
Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

,
France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

,
Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

,
Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

,
Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

,
Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

,
Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

,
Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

,
South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

,
Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

,
Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

,
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

,
Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

,
Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

,
Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

,
Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

,
Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

,
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

,
United States of America

U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was opened for signature at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , commonly referred to simply as Rio, is the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city of Brazil, and the third largest metropolitan area and agglomeration in South America, boasting approximately 6.3 million people within the city proper, making it the 6th...

 (known by its popular title, the Earth Summit
Earth Summit
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit was a major United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 June to 14 June 1992.-Overview:...

). On June 12, 1992, 154 nations signed the UNFCCC, that upon ratification committed signatories' governments to a voluntary "non-binding aim" to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases with the goal of "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth's climate system." These actions were aimed primarily at industrialized countries, with the intention of stabilizing their emissions of greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

es at 1990 levels by the year 2000; and other responsibilities would be incumbent upon all UNFCCC parties. The parties agreed in general that they would recognize "common but differentiated responsibilities," with greater responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the near term on the part of developed/industrialized countries, which were listed and identified in Annex I of the UNFCCC and thereafter referred to as "Annex I" countries.

Benchmarking


In the context of the UNFCCC, benchmarking is the setting of emission reduction commitments measured against a particular base year. The only quantified target set in the original FCCC (Article 4) was for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 (Goldemberg et al., 1996, pp. 32–33). There are issues with benchmarking that can make it potentially inequitable (Goldemberg et al., 1996, pp. 32–33). For example, take two countries that have identical emission reduction commitments as measured against the 1990 base year. This might be interpreted as being equitable, but this is not necessarily the case. One country might have previously made efforts to improve energy efficiency in the years preceding the benchmark year, while the other country had not. In economic terms, the marginal
Margin (economics)
In economics, a margin is a set of constraints conceptualised as a border. A marginal change is the change associated with a relaxation or tightening of constraints — either change of the constraints, or a change in response to this change of the constraints.- Extensive and intensive margins...

 cost curve for emissions reductions rises steeply beyond a certain point. Thus, to meet its emission reduction commitment, the country with initially high energy efficiency might face high costs. But for the country that had previously encouraged over-consumption of energy, e.g., through subsidies, the costs of meeting its commitment would potentially be lower.

Precautionary principle


In decision making, the precautionary principle
Precautionary principle
The precautionary principle or precautionary approach states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those...

 is considered when possibly dangerous, irreversible, or catastrophic events are identified, but scientific evaluation of the potential damage is not sufficiently certain (Toth et al., 2001, pp. 655–656). The precautionary principle implies an emphasis on the need to prevent such adverse effects.

Uncertainty is associated with each link of the causal chain of climate change. For example, future GHG emissions are uncertain, as are climate change damages. However, following the precautionary principle, uncertainty is not a reason for inaction, and this is acknowledged in Article 3.3 of the UNFCCC (Toth et al., 2001, p. 656).

Interpreting Article 2


The ultimate objective of the Framework Convention is to prevent "dangerous" anthropogenic (i.e., human) interference of the climate system
Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

.
As is stated in Article 2 of the Convention, this requires that GHG concentrations are stabilized in the atmosphere at a level where ecosystems
Climate change and ecosystems
This article is about climate change and ecosystems.-Impacts:Unchecked global warming could affect most terrestrial ecoregions. Increasing global temperature means that ecosystems will change; some species are being forced out of their habitats because of changing conditions, while others are...

 can adapt naturally to climate change, food production
Climate change and agriculture
Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes, both of which take place on a global scale. Global warming is projected to have significant impacts on conditions affecting agriculture, including temperature, carbon dioxide, glacial run-off, precipitation and the interaction of these...

 is not threatened, and economic development
Economics of global warming
-Definitions:In this article, the phrase “climate change” is used to describe a change in the climate, measured in terms of its statistical properties, e.g., the global mean surface temperature. In this context, “climate” is taken to mean the average weather. Climate can change over period of time...

 can proceed in a sustainable fashion.

Human activities have had a number of effects on the climate system.
Global GHG emissions due to human activities have grown since pre-industrial
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 times.
Warming of the climate system has been observed, as indicated by increases in average air and ocean temperatures
Temperature record
The temperature record shows the fluctuations of the temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans through various spans of time. The most detailed information exists since 1850, when methodical thermometer-based records began. There are numerous estimates of temperatures since the end of the...

, widespread melting of snow and ice cover, and rising global average sea level
Current sea level rise
Current sea level rise potentially impacts human populations and the wider natural environment . Global average sea level rose at an average rate of around 1.8 mm per year over 1961 to 2003 and at an average rate of about 3.1 mm per year from 1993 to 2003...

.
As assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

 (IPCC), "[most] of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations."
"Very likely" here is defined by the IPCC as having a likelihood of greater than 90%, based on expert judgement.

The future levels of GHG emissions are highly uncertain.
In 2010, the United Nations Enivronment Programme (UNEP) published a report on the voluntary emissions reduction pledges made as part of the Copenhagen Accord
Copenhagen Accord
The Copenhagen Accord is a document that delegates at the 15th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to "take note of" at the final plenary on 18 December 2009....

. As part of their assessment, UNEP looked at possible emissions out until the end of the 21st century, and estimated associated changes in global mean temperature.
A range of emissions projections
Climate change scenario
This article is about climate change scenarios. Socioeconomic scenarios are used by analysts to make projections of future greenhouse gas emissions and to assess future vulnerability to climate change...

 suggested a temperature increase of between 2.5 to 5 ºC before the end of the 21st century, relative to pre-industrial temperature levels. The lower end temperature estimate is associated with fairly stringent controls on emissions after 2020, while the higher end is associated with weaker controls on emissions.

Future climate change will have a range of beneficial and adverse effects on human society
Climate change, industry and society
This article is about climate change, industry and society.-Vulnerability:The ability to predict how climate change may affect industry, settlement and society is limited by uncertainites about climate change and future developments in social and economic systems...

 and the environment
Climate change and ecosystems
This article is about climate change and ecosystems.-Impacts:Unchecked global warming could affect most terrestrial ecoregions. Increasing global temperature means that ecosystems will change; some species are being forced out of their habitats because of changing conditions, while others are...

. The larger the changes in climate, the more adverse effects will predominate (see effects of global warming
Effects of global warming
This article is about the effects of global warming and climate change. The effects, or impacts, of climate change may be physical, ecological, social or economic. Evidence of observed climate change includes the instrumental temperature record, rising sea levels, and decreased snow cover in the...

 for more details).
The IPCC has informed the UNFCCC process in determining what constitutes "dangerous" human interference of the climate system. Their conclusion is that such a determination involves value judgements, and will vary among different regions of the world.
The IPCC has broken down current and future impacts of climate change into a range of "key vulnerabilities," e.g., impacts affecting food supply
Climate change and agriculture
Climate change and agriculture are interrelated processes, both of which take place on a global scale. Global warming is projected to have significant impacts on conditions affecting agriculture, including temperature, carbon dioxide, glacial run-off, precipitation and the interaction of these...

, as well as five "reasons for concern
Reasons for concern
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has organized many of the risks of climate change into five "reasons for concern." The reasons for concern show that these risks increase with increases in the Earth's global mean temperature...

," shown opposite.

Stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations


In order to stabilize the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere, emissions would need to peak and decline thereafter.
The lower the stabilization level, the more quickly this peak and decline would need to occur. The emissions associated with atmospheric stabilization varies among different GHGs. This is because of differences in the processes that remove each gas from the atmosphere.
Concentrations of some GHGs decrease almost immediately in response to emission reduction, e.g., methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

, while others continue to increase for centuries even with reduced emissions, e.g., carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

.

All relevant GHGs need to be considered if atmospheric GHG concentrations are to be stabilized.
Human activities result in the emission of four principal GHGs: carbon dioxide (chemical formula
Chemical formula
A chemical formula or molecular formula is a way of expressing information about the atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound....

: CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas or sweet air, is a chemical compound with the formula . It is an oxide of nitrogen. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic...

 (N2O) and the halocarbon
Halocarbon
Halocarbon compounds are chemicals in which one or more carbon atoms are linked by covalent bonds with one or more halogen atoms resulting in the formation of organofluorine compounds, organochlorine compounds, organobromine compounds, and organoiodine compounds...

s (a group of gases containing fluorine
Fluorine
Fluorine is the chemical element with atomic number 9, represented by the symbol F. It is the lightest element of the halogen column of the periodic table and has a single stable isotope, fluorine-19. At standard pressure and temperature, fluorine is a pale yellow gas composed of diatomic...

, chlorine
Chlorine
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

 and bromine
Bromine
Bromine ") is a chemical element with the symbol Br, an atomic number of 35, and an atomic mass of 79.904. It is in the halogen element group. The element was isolated independently by two chemists, Carl Jacob Löwig and Antoine Jerome Balard, in 1825–1826...

).
Carbon dioxide is the most important of the GHGs that human activities release into the atmosphere.
At present, human activities are adding emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere far faster than they are being removed.
This is analogous to a flow of water into a bathtub.
So long as the tap runs water (analogous to the emission of carbon dioxide) into the tub faster than water escapes through the plughole (the natural removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), then the level of water in the tub (analogous to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere) will continue to rise. To stabilize the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at a constant level, emissions would essentially need to be completely eliminated.
It is estimated that reducing carbon dioxide emissions 100% below their present level (i.e., complete elimination) would lead to a slow decrease in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 by 40 parts-per-million (ppm) over the 21st century.

The emissions reductions required to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of CO2 can be contrasted with the reductions required for methane. Unlike CO2, methane has a well-defined lifetime in the atmosphere of about 12 years. Lifetime is defined as the time required to reduce a given perturbation of methane in the atmosphere to 37% of its initial amount. Stabilizing emissions of methane would lead, within decades, to a stabilization in its atmospheric concentration.

The climate system would take time to respond to a stabilization in the atmospheric concentration of CO2.
Temperature stabilization would be expected within a few centuries. Sea level rise due thermal expansion would be expected to continue for centuries to millennia. Additional sea level rise due to ice melting would be expected to continue for several millennia.

Conferences of the Parties


Since the UNFCCC entered into force, the parties have been meeting annually in Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change, and beginning in the mid-1990s, to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. From 2005 the Conferences have met in conjunction with Meetings of Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (MOP), and parties to the Convention that are not parties to the Protocol can participate in Protocol-related meetings as observers.

1995 – COP 1, The Berlin Mandate


The first UNFCCC Conference of Parties took place in March 1995 in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It voiced concerns about the adequacy of countries' abilities to meet commitments under the Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI).

1996 – COP 2, Geneva, Switzerland


COP 2 took place in July 1996 in Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. Its Ministerial Declaration was noted (but not adopted) July 18, 1996, and reflected a U.S. position statement presented by Timothy Wirth, former Under Secretary for Global Affairs for the U.S. State Department at that meeting, which
  1. Accepted the scientific findings on climate change proffered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

     (IPCC) in its second assessment (1995);
  2. Rejected uniform "harmonized policies" in favor of flexibility;
  3. Called for "legally binding mid-term targets."

1997 – COP 3, The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change


COP 3 took place in December 1997 in Kyoto
Kyoto
is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

. After intensive negotiations, it adopted the Kyoto Protocol
Kyoto Protocol
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , aimed at fighting global warming...

, which outlined the greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligation for Annex I countries, along with what came to be known as Kyoto mechanisms such as emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation. Most industrialized countries and some central European economies in transition (all defined as Annex B countries) agreed to legally binding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions of an average of 6 to 8% below 1990 levels between the years 2008–2012, defined as the first emissions budget period. The United States would be required to reduce its total emissions an average of 7% below 1990 levels; however Congress did not ratify the treaty after Clinton signed it. The Bush administration explicitly rejected the protocol in 2001.

1998 – COP 4, Buenos Aires, Argentina



COP 4 took place in November 1998 in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

. It had been expected that the remaining issues unresolved in Kyoto would be finalized at this meeting. However, the complexity and difficulty of finding agreement on these issues proved insurmountable, and instead the parties adopted a 2-year "Plan of Action" to advance efforts and to devise mechanisms for implementing the Kyoto Protocol, to be completed by 2000. During COP4, Argentina and Kazakhstan expressed their commitment to take on the greenhouse gas emissions reduction obligation, the first two non-Annex countries to do so.

1999 – COP 5, Bonn, Germany


COP 5 took place between October 25 and November 5, 1999, in Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. It was primarily a technical meeting, and did not reach major conclusions.

2000 – COP 6, The Hague, Netherlands


COP 6 took place between November 13, – November 25, 2000, in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. The discussions evolved rapidly into a high-level negotiation over the major political issues. These included major controversy over the United States' proposal to allow credit for carbon "sinks" in forests and agricultural lands, satisfying a major proportion of the U.S. emissions reductions in this way; disagreements over consequences for non-compliance by countries that did not meet their emission reduction targets; and difficulties in resolving how developing countries could obtain financial assistance to deal with adverse effects of climate change and meet their obligations to plan for measuring and possibly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In the final hours of COP 6, despite some compromises agreed between the United States and some EU countries, notably the United Kingdom, the EU countries as a whole, led by Denmark and Germany, rejected the compromise positions, and the talks in The Hague collapsed. Jan Pronk
Jan Pronk
Johannes "Jan" Pieter Pronk is a Dutch politician and diplomat. Currently, he is a Professor of Theory and Practice of International Development at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague....

, the President of COP 6, suspended COP-6 without agreement, with the expectation that negotiations would later resume. It was later announced that the COP 6 meetings (termed "COP 6 bis") would be resumed in Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, in the second half of July. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the parties to the UNFCCC – COP 7 – had been set for Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech or Marrakesh , known as the "Ochre city", is the most important former imperial city in Morocco's history...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, in October–November 2001.

2001 – COP 6 bis, Bonn, Germany


COP 6 negotiations resumed July 17–27, 2001, in Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, with little progress having been made in resolving the differences that had produced an impasse in The Hague. However, this meeting took place after George W. Bush had become the President of the United States and had rejected the Kyoto Protocol in March 2001; as a result the United States delegation to this meeting declined to participate in the negotiations related to the Protocol and chose to take the role of observer at the meeting. As the other parties negotiated the key issues, agreement was reached on most of the major political issues, to the surprise of most observers, given the low expectations that preceded the meeting. The agreements included:
  1. Flexible Mechanisms
    Flexible Mechanisms
    Flexible mechanisms, also sometimes known as Flexibility Mechanisms or Kyoto Mechanisms), refers to Emissions Trading, the Clean Development Mechanism and Joint Implementation. These are mechanisms defined under the Kyoto Protocol intended to lower the overall costs of achieving its emissions targets...

    : The "flexibility" mechanisms which the United States had strongly favored when the Protocol was initially put together, including emissions trading; Joint Implementation
    Joint Implementation
    Joint implementation is one of three flexibility mechanisms set forth in the Kyoto Protocol to help countries with binding greenhouse gas emissions targets meet their obligations. JI is set forth in Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol...

     (JI); and the Clean Development Mechanism
    Clean Development Mechanism
    The Clean Development Mechanism is one of the "flexibility" mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol . It is defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, and is intended to meet two objectives: to assist parties not included in Annex I in achieving sustainable development and in contributing to the...

     (CDM) which allow industrialized countries to fund emissions reduction activities in developing countries as an alternative to domestic emission reductions. One of the key elements of this agreement was that there would be no quantitative limit on the credit a country could claim from use of these mechanisms provided domestic action constituted a significant element of the efforts of each Annex B country to meet their targets.
  2. Carbon sinks: It was agreed that credit would be granted for broad activities that absorb carbon from the atmosphere or store it, including forest and cropland management, and re-vegetation, with no over-all cap on the amount of credit that a country could claim for sinks activities. In the case of forest management, an Appendix Z establishes country-specific caps for each Annex I country. Thus, a cap of 13 million tons could be credited to Japan (which represents about 4% of its base-year emissions). For cropland management, countries could receive credit only for carbon sequestration increases above 1990 levels.
  3. Compliance: Final action on compliance procedures and mechanisms that would address non-compliance with Protocol provisions was deferred to COP 7, but included broad outlines of consequences for failing to meet emissions targets that would include a requirement to "make up" shortfalls at 1.3 tons to 1, suspension of the right to sell credits for surplus emissions reductions, and a required compliance action plan for those not meeting their targets.
  4. Financing: There was agreement on the establishment of three new funds to provide assistance for needs associated with climate change: (1) a fund for climate change that supports a series of climate measures; (2) a least-developed-country fund to support National Adaptation Programs of Action; and (3) a Kyoto Protocol adaptation fund supported by a CDM levy and voluntary contributions.


A number of operational details attendant upon these decisions remained to be negotiated and agreed upon, and these were the major issues considered by the COP 7 meeting that followed.

2001 – COP 7, Marrakech, Morocco



At the COP 7 meeting in Marrakech
Marrakech
Marrakech or Marrakesh , known as the "Ochre city", is the most important former imperial city in Morocco's history...

, Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 from October 29 to November 10, 2001, negotiators wrapped up the work on the Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 Plan of Action, finalizing most of the operational details and setting the stage for nations to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.deadlink deadlink The completed package of decisions is known as the Marrakech Accords. The United States delegation maintained its observer role, declining to participate actively in the negotiations. Other parties continued to express hope that the United States would re-engage in the process at some point and worked to achieve ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by the requisite number of countries to bring it into force (55 countries needed to ratify it, including those accounting for 55% of developed-country emissions of carbon dioxide in 1990). The date of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (August–September 2002) was put forward as a target to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was to be held in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

.

The main decisions at COP 7 included:
  • Operational rules for international emissions trading
    Emissions trading
    Emissions trading is a market-based approach used to control pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants....

     among parties to the Protocol and for the CDM and joint implementation;
  • A compliance regime that outlined consequences for failure to meet emissions targets but deferred to the parties to the Protocol, once it came into force, the decision on whether those consequences would be legally binding;
  • Accounting procedures for the flexibility mechanisms;
  • A decision to consider at COP 8 how to achieve a review of the adequacy of commitments that might lead to discussions on future commitments by developing countries.

2002 – COP 8, New Delhi, India



Taking place from October 23, – November 1, 2002, COP8 adopted the Delhi Ministerial Declaration that, amongst others, called for efforts by developed countries to transfer technology and minimize the impact of climate change on developing countries. It is also approved the New Delhi work programme on Article 6 of the Convention. The COP8 was marked by Russia's hesitation, stating that the government needs more time to think it over. The Kyoto Protocol's fine print says it can come into force only once it is ratified by 55 countries, including wealthy nations responsible for 55 per cent of the developed world's 1990 carbon dioxide emissions. With the United States – and its 36.1 per cent slice of developed-world carbon dioxide – out of the picture and Australia also refusing ratification, Russia was required to make up the difference, hence it could delay the process.

2003 – COP 9, Milan, Italy



December 1 – 12, 2003
The parties agreed to use the Adaptation Fund established at COP7 in 2001 primarily in supporting developing countries better adapt to climate change. The fund would also be used for capacity-building through technology transfer. At COP9, the parties also agreed to review the first national reports submitted by 110 non-Annex I countries.

2004 – COP 10, Buenos Aires, Argentina


December 6 – 17, 2004. See also Climate ethics: The Program on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change
COP10 discussed the progress made since the first Conference of the Parties 10 years ago and its future challenges, with special emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation. To promote developing countries better adapt to climate change, the Buenos Aires Plan of Action was adopted. The parties also began discussing the post-Kyoto mechanism, on how to allocate emission reduction obligation following 2012, when the first commitment period ends.

2005 – COP 11/MOP 1, Montreal, Canada



COP 11 (or COP 11/MOP 1) took place between November 28 and December 9, 2005, in Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Canada. It was the first Meeting of the Parties (MOP-1) to the Kyoto Protocol since their initial meeting in Kyoto in 1997. It was therefore one of the largest intergovernmental conferences on climate change ever. The event marked the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol.
Hosting more than 10,000 delegates, it was one of Canada's largest international events ever and the largest gathering in Montreal since Expo 67
Expo 67
The 1967 International and Universal Exposition or Expo 67, as it was commonly known, was the general exhibition, Category One World's Fair held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, from April 27 to October 29, 1967. It is considered to be the most successful World's Fair of the 20th century, with the...

.
The Montreal Action Plan is an agreement hammered out at the end of the conference to "extend the life of the Kyoto Protocol beyond its 2012 expiration date and negotiate deeper cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions." Canada's environment minister, at the time, Stéphane Dion
Stéphane Dion
Stéphane Maurice Dion, PC, MP is a Canadian politician who has been the Member of Parliament for the riding of Saint-Laurent–Cartierville in Montreal since 1996. He was the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and the Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian House of Commons from 2006 to 2008...

, said the agreement provides a "map for the future."

See also COP 11 pages at the UNFCCC.

2006 – COP 12/MOP 2, Nairobi, Kenya



COP 12/MOP 2 took place between November 6 and 17, 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya. The city and its surrounding area also forms the Nairobi County. The name "Nairobi" comes from the Maasai phrase Enkare Nyirobi, which translates to "the place of cool waters". However, it is popularly known as the "Green City in the Sun" and is...

. At the meeting, BBC reporter Richard Black coined the phrase “climate tourists” to describe some delegates who attended “to see Africa, take snaps of the wildlife, the poor, dying African children and women”. Black also noted that due to delegates concerns over economic costs and possible losses of competitiveness, the majority of the discussions avoided any mention of reducing emissions. Black concluded that was a disconnect between the political process and the scientific imperative.
Despite such criticism, certain strides were made at COP12, including in the areas of support for developing countries and clean development mechanism. The parties adopted a five-year plan of work to support climate change adaptation by developing countries, and agreed on the procedures and modalities for the Adaptation Fund. They also agreed to improve the projects for clean development mechanism.

2007 – COP 13/MOP 3, Bali, Indonesia


COP 13/MOP 3 took place between December 3 and December 15, 2007, at Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua
Nusa Dua is known as an enclave of large international 5-star resorts in south-eastern Bali. It is located 40 kilometres from Denpasar, the provincial capital of Bali, and administered under Kuta South District. Nusa Dua means two islands....

, in Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

, Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

. Agreement on a timeline and structured negotiation on the post-2012 framework (the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol) was achieved with the adoption of the Bali Action Plan (Decision 1/CP.13). The Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) was established as a new subsidiary body to conduct the negotiations aimed at urgently enhancing the implementation of the Convention up to and beyond 2012. Decision 9/CP.13 is an Amended to the New Delhi work programme. These negotiations took place during 2008 (leading to COP 14/MOP 4 in Poznan, Poland) and 2009 (leading to COP 15/MOP 5 in Copenhagen).

2008 – COP 14/MOP 4, Poznań, Poland


More image and news: 2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference
2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2008 United Nations Climate Change Conference took place at PIF Congress Centre, Poznań International Fair , in Poznań, Poland, between December 1 and December 12, 2008...

]]
COP 14/MOP 4 took place from December 1 to12, 2008 in Poznań
Poznan
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. Delegates agreed on principles for the financing of a fund to help the poorest nations cope with the effects of climate change and they approved a mechanism to incorporate forest protection into the efforts of the international community to combat climate change.

Negotiations on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol were the primary focus of the conference.

2009 – COP 15/MOP 5, Copenhagen, Denmark


COP 15 took place in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, from December 7 to December 18, 2009.

The overall goal for the COP 15/MOP 5 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Denmark was to establish an ambitious global climate agreement for the period from 2012 when the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires. However, on November 14, 2009, the New York Times announced that "President Obama and other world leaders have decided to put off the difficult task of reaching a climate change agreement... agreeing instead to make it the mission of the Copenhagen conference to reach a less specific “politically binding” agreement that would punt the most difficult issues into the future." Ministers and officials from 192 countries took part in the Copenhagen meeting and in addition there were participants from a large number of civil society organizations. As many Annex 1 industrialized countries are now reluctant to fulfill commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, a large part of the diplomatic work that lays the foundation for a post-Kyoto agreement was undertaken up to the COP15.

The conference did not achieve a binding agreement for long-term action. A 13-paragraph 'political accord' was negotiated by approximately 25 parties including US and China, but it was only 'noted' by the COP as it is considered an external document, not negotiated within the UNFCCC process. The accord was notable in that it referred to a collective commitment by developed countries for new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions, that will approach USD 30 billion for the period 2010–2012. Longer-term options on climate financing mentioned in the accord are being discussed within the UN Secretary General's High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing
High Level Advisory Group on Climate Financing
The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon established a High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing on 12 February 2010 for the duration of 10 months....

, which is due to report in November 2010. The negotiations on extending the Kyoto Protocol had unresolved issues as did the negotiations on a framework for long-term cooperative action. The working groups on these tracks to the negotiations are now due to report to COP 16 and MOP 6 in Mexico.

2010 – COP 16/MOP 6, Cancún, Mexico


COP 16 was held in Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, from November 29 to December 10, 2010.

2011 – COP 17/MOP 7, Durban, South Africa


The 2011 COP 17
2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference
The 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference is an ongoing conference, held in Durban, South Africa, from 28 November to 9 December 2011....

 is to be hosted by Durban
Durban
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and the third largest city in South Africa. It forms part of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism...

, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

, from November 28 to December 9, 2011.

2012 – COP 18/MOP 8, Qatar


Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 will be the host of COP 18 which will take place from 26 November to 7 December 2012.

Subsidiary bodies


A subsidiary body is a committee that assists the Conference of the Parties. Subsidiary bodies includes:
  • Permanents:
    • The Subsidiary Board of Implementation (SBI) makes recommendations on policy and implementation issues to the COP and, if requested, to other bodies.
    • The Subsidiary Board of Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) serves as a link between information and assessments provided by expert sources (such as the IPCC
      Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a scientific intergovernmental body which provides comprehensive assessments of current scientific, technical and socio-economic information worldwide about the risk of climate change caused by human activity, its potential environmental and...

      ) and the COP, which focuses on setting policy.
  • Temporary:
    • AWG-LCA
    • AWG-KP

Secretariat


The work under the UNFCCC is facilitated by a secretariat in Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

, Germany, which from July 2010 is headed by Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres
Christiana Figueres
Karen Christiana Figueres Olsen was appointed Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on 17 May 2010, succeeding Yvo de Boer. She had been a member of the Costa Rican negotiating team since 1995, involved in both UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol negotiations. She has...

.

UNFCCC members

UNFCCC members UNFCCC observers
  1.  Afghanistan
  2.  Albania
  3.  Algeria
  4.  Angola
  5.  Antigua and Barbuda
  6.  Argentina
  7.  Armenia
  8.  Australia
  9.  Austria
  10.  Azerbaijan
  11.  The Bahamas
  12.  Bahrain
  13.  Bangladesh
  14.  Barbados
  15.  Belarus
  16.  Belgium
  17.  Belize
  18.  Benin
  19.  Bhutan
  20.  Bolivia
  21.  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  22.  Botswana
  23.  Brazil
  24.  Brunei
  25.  Kingdom of Bulgaria
  26.  Burkina Faso
  27.  Myanmar
  28.  Burundi
  29.  Cambodia
  30.  Cameroon
  31.  Canada
  32.  Cape Verde
  33.  Central African Republic
  34.  Chad
  35.  Chile
  36.  Mainland China
  37.  Colombia
  38.  Comoros
  39.  Democratic Republic of the Congo
  40.  Republic of the Congo
  41.  Cook Islands
  42.  Costa Rica
  43.  Côte d'Ivoire
  44.  Independent State of Croatia
  45.  Cuba
  46.  Cyprus
  47.  Czech Republic
  48.  Denmark
  49.  Djibouti
  50.  Dominica
  51.  Dominican Republic
  52.  Ecuador
  53.  Egypt
  54.  El Salvador
  55.  Equatorial Guinea
  56.  Eritrea
  57.  Estonia
  58.  Ethiopia
  59.  European Union
  60.  Fiji
  61.  Finland
  62.  Early Modern France
  63.  Gabon
  64.  The Gambia
  65.  Georgia (country)
  66.  Germany
  67.  Ghana
  68.  Greece
  69.  Grenada
  70.  Guatemala
  71.  Guinea
  72.  Guinea-Bissau
  73.  Guyana
  74.  Haiti
  75.  Honduras
  76.  Hungary
  77.  Iceland
  78.  India
  79.  Indonesia
  80.  Iran
  81.  Iraq
  82.  Republic of Ireland
  83.  Israel
  84.  Italy
  85.  Jamaica
  86.  Japan
  87.  Jordan
  88.  Kazakhstan
  89.  Kenya
  90.  Kiribati
  91.  North Korea
  92.  South Korea
  93.  Kuwait
  94.  Kyrgyzstan
  95.  Laos
  96.  Latvia
  97.  Lebanon
  98.  Lesotho
  99.  Liberia
  100.  Libya
  101.  Liechtenstein
  102.  Lithuania
  103.  Luxembourg
  104.  Republic of Macedonia
  105.  Madagascar
  106.  Malawi
  107.  Malaysia
  108.  Maldives
  109.  Mali
  110.  Malta
  111.  Marshall Islands
  112.  Mauritania
  113.  Mauritius
  114.  Mexico
  115.  Federated States of Micronesia
  116.  Moldova
  117.  Monaco
  118.  Mongolia
  119.  Kingdom of Montenegro
  120.  Morocco
  121.  Mozambique
  122.  Namibia
  123.  Nauru
  124.  Nepal
  125.  Netherlands
  126.  New Zealand
  127.  Nicaragua
  128.  Niger
  129.  Nigeria
  130.  Niue
  131.  Norway
  132.  Oman
  133.  Pakistan
  134.  Palau
  135.  Panama
  136.  Papua New Guinea
  137.  Paraguay
  138.  Peru
  139.  Philippines
  140.  Poland
  141.  Portugal
  142.  Qatar
  143.  Kingdom of Romania
  144.  Russia
  145.  Rwanda
  146.  Saint Kitts and Nevis
  147.  Saint Lucia
  148.  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  149.  Samoa
  150.  San Marino
  151.  São Tomé and Príncipe
  152.  Saudi Arabia
  153.  Senegal
  154.  Serbia
  155.  Seychelles
  156.  Sierra Leone
  157.  Singapore
  158.  Slovakia
  159.  Slovenia
  160.  Solomon Islands
  161.  Somalia
  162.  South Africa
  163.  Spain
  164.  Sri Lanka
  165.  Sudan
  166.  Suriname
  167.  Swaziland
  168.  Sweden
  169.  Switzerland
  170.  Syria
  171.  Tajikistan
  172.  Tanzania
  173.  Thailand
  174.  East Timor
  175.  Togo
  176.  Tonga
  177.  Trinidad and Tobago
  178.  Tunisia
  179.  Turkey
  180.  Turkmenistan
  181.  Tuvalu
  182.  Uganda
  183.  Ukraine
  184.  United Arab Emirates
  185.  United Kingdom
  186.  United States
  187.  Uruguay
  188.  Uzbekistan
  189.  Vanuatu
  190.  Venezuela
  191.  Vietnam
  192.  Yemen
  193.  Zambia
  194.  Zimbabwe
  •  Andorra
  •  Holy See

  • See also


    • Alliance of Small Island States
      Alliance of Small Island States
      Alliance of Small Island States is an intergovernmental organization of low-lying coastal and small Island countries. Established in 1990, the main purpose of the alliance is to consolidate the voices of Small Island Developing States to address global warming...

       (AOSIS)
    • Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
      Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change
      The related terms "avoiding dangerous climate change" and "preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" date to 1995 and earlier, in the Second Assesment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change and previous science it cites.In 2002, the United Nations...

    • Climate Change Information Network (CC:iNet)
    • Climate ethics
      Climate ethics
      Climate Ethics is a new and growing area of research that focuses on the ethical dimensions of climate change, and concepts such as climate justice....

    • Coalition for Rainforest Nations
      Coalition for Rainforest Nations
      The Coalition for Rainforest Nations is an intergovernmental organization established by forested tropical counties to collaboratively reconcile forest stewardship with economic development...

    • Greenhouse Mafia
      Greenhouse Mafia
      Greenhouse Mafia is allegedly the "in house" name used by Australia’s carbon lobby for itself. It was also the title of a program aired by the ABC on the 13 February 2006 episode of its weekly current affairs program Four Corners....

       Australia's carbon lobby
    • Individual and political action on climate change
      Individual and political action on climate change
      Individual and political action on climate change can take many forms, most of which have the ultimate goal of limiting and/or reducing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, toward avoiding dangerous climate change.-Political action:...

       Climate change response
    • Least Developed Country (LDC)
    • List of international environmental agreements
    • Montreal Protocol
      Montreal Protocol
      The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion...

    • Post–Kyoto Protocol negotiations on greenhouse gas emissions
    • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
      United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification
      The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies...

       (UNCCD)
    • United Nations Regional Groups including African Group
    • World People's Conference on Climate Change
      World People's Conference on Climate Change
      The World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was a global gathering of civil society and governments hosted by the government of Bolivia in Tiquipaya, just outside the city of Cochabamba from April 19–22, 2010...



    External links