Making Democracy Work

Environmental Quality

Environmental Quality Committee

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Update

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change, as a vehicle for international cooperation to combat climate change by limiting average global temperature increases that result in climate change and to cope with inevitable impacts of climate change.

By 1995, countries launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change, and, two years later, adopted the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol legally binds developed country parties 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 197 parties to the Convention and 192 parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement. It marked the latest step in the evolution of the UN climate change regime and builds on the work undertaken by the Convention. The Paris Agreement charted a new course in the global effort to combat climate change.

The Paris Agreement seeks to accelerate and intensify the actions and investment needed for a sustainable low-carbon future. Its central aim is to strengthen the global response to the climate change threat via these goals: (1) to restrict the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and (2) to pursue efforts to further limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Agreement also aims to strengthen countries' ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.

by Mickey Croyle and the Environmental Quality Committee