Stages and results 1979-1995


1979: First world climate conference

  • The governments of the world are called on to "prevent potential man-made changes in climate that might be adverse to the well-being of humanity".
  • Endorsement of a World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) under the joint responsibility of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

1988: Establishment of the IPCC

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its mission is to review and assess the status of scientific, technical and socio-economic knowledge about the causes and consequences of global climate change and publish periodic reports.


1990: First IPCC Assessment Report

  • First survey of available knowledge on climate systems and climate change and the associated impacts on the environment, economy and society.
  • The report provides a scientific basis for the 1992 climate conference in Rio de Janeiro.

1990: Second World Climate Conference

The demand for negotiations on a convention for the protection of the climate is widely supported. The 137 participating states and the European Union pass a concluding Ministerial Agreement, in which various principles are supported that would later be included in the Climate Change Convention. The principles in question are:

  • climate change "as a common concern of humankind"
  • the "common but differentiated responsibility of countries at different levels of development"
  • the concept of sustainable development
  • the precautionary principle.

1992: Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is opened for signature by the participating countries at the "Earth Summit" of 4 June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. The Climate Change Convention enters into force on 21 March 1994 following its ratification by 50 states. The number of ratifications increased to 189 over the following ten years.


1995: Second IPCC Assessment Report

The Second IPCC Assessment Report, which was compiled by scientists and experts from all over the world, reaches the conclusion that an identifiable human influence on the global climate exists.

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