International climate policy: the Climate Change Convention

At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the need for a global strategy on climate protection was recognised and the first international agreement was approved: the Climate Change Convention.

At two major international scientific conferences in Geneva in 1979 and 1990, climate change was recognised as a global problem affecting all of humankind and an initial international agreement on climate protection, known as the Climate Change Convention, was drawn up. This was approved at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and came into force on 21 March 1994, having been ratified by 50 states. A total of 195 states had ratified the Convention by 2016.

Preventing interference with the climate system

The aim of the Convention is "to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system".

The Convention holds the states jointly responsible for preventing dangerous, man-made climate change. At the same time, it  stresses the special responsibilities of industrialised countries:

Brief overview of the Climate Change Convention

Aim

To achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

Principles

  • Common responsibilities
  • Special responsibilities for industrialised countries
  • Consideration for the special needs of developing countries 
  • Precautionary principle
  • Sustainable development of all states

General obligations 

  • National greenhouse gas inventories 
  • National programmes of measures for climate protection
  • Cooperation, especially on the scientific and technological matters 
  • Development of adaptation measures

Special obligations for industrialised countries

  • Detailed reports on implemented or planned policies and measures
  • Provision of funding

Further information

Contact
Last modification 21.04.2016

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