Climate change is a complex problem, which, although environmental in nature, has consequences for all spheres of existence on our planet. It either impacts on– or is impacted by– global issues, including poverty, economic development, population growth, sustainable development and resource management.
At the very heart of the response to climate change, however, lies the need to reduce emissions. In 2010, governments agreed that emissions need to be reduced so that global temperature increases are limited to below 2 degrees Celsius.
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change
In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to consider what they could do to limit global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with its impacts.
By 1995, countries realized that emission reductions provisions in the Convention were inadequate. As a result, they launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change, and, in 1997, adopted the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets. The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012. The second commitment period began on 1 January 2013 and will end in 2020.
There are now 195 Parties to the Convention and 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. Since then, the Protocol the Parties to the Protocol have continued the negotiations and have amended the Protocol to achieve more ambitious results by 2030.
The following timeline provides a brief summary of negotiations towards a climate agreement.