Convention on Climate Change

  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

At the Rio Summit in 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted. It is the primary vehicle of Global Cooperation and Action for Climate Change with the objective of stabilising Greenhouse Gas (GHG) concentration at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The UNFCCC places the primary responsibility of mitigation on industrialised countries. It recognises that the economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of the developing countries which are bound to rise CO2 levels. The Convention entered into force on March 21st, 1994 after receiving the requisite number of ratifications.

The first Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention (UNFCCC), which was held in April 1995, adopted the Berlin Mandate which led to the formulation of Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

UNFCCC- Groups

Annex I

Industrialized countries and economies in transition (EIT) - 41

Annex II

Annex II countries are a subgroup of Annex I countries, don’t include EIT countries - Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -24

  • They are required to provide financial resources to enable developing countries to undertake emissions reduction activities under the Convention and to help them adapt to adverse effects of climate change
  • They have to "take all practicable steps" to promote the development and transfer of environmentally friendly technologies to EIT Parties and developing countries

Non-Annex  Countries / Developing Countries

  • Especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, including countries with low-lying coastal areas and those prone to desertification and drought
  • Countries that rely heavily on income from fossil fuel production

  Kyoto Protocol Acceptance

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC or FCCC) aimed at fighting global warming.

It commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. The Protocol was initially adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on 16 February 2005.


Presently there are 192 Countries have signed and ratified the protocol. The only remaining signatory (UN Members) not to have ratified the protocol is the United States, Andorra, South Sudan and Canada.

  • The first commitment period applies to emissions between 2008-2012,
  • and the second commitment period applies to emissions between 2013-2020.

Kyoto Amendment

The protocol was amended in Doha, Qatar, on 8 December 2012, the "Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol" was adopted 2012 to accommodate the second commitment period


  Doha Amendment : 2nd Commitment of Kyoto

New commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020. A revised list of greenhouse gases (GHG) to be reported on by Parties in the second commitment period; and Amendments to several articles of the Kyoto Protocol which specifically referenced issues pertaining to the first commitment period and which needed to be updated for the second commitment period

The 37 parties with binding targets in the second commitment period are Australia, the European Union Belarus, Iceland, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and Ukraine. Japan, New Zealand, and Russia have participated in Kyoto's first-round but have not taken on new targets in the second commitment period. Other developed countries without second-round targets are Canada (which withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012) and the United States (which has not ratified the Protocol)

During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels. During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the composition of Parties in the second commitment period is different from the first

As of July 2016, 66 states have accepted the Doha Amendment, while entry into force requires the acceptances of 144 states. Of the 37 countries with binding commitments, 7 have ratified.


Doha Amendment, it is expected to enter into force after three quarters of the Parties to the Protocol submit their instruments of acceptance to the Depositary.


  Paris Agreement

In 2015, all (then) 196 then parties to the convention came together for the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris 30 November - 12 December and adopted by consensus the Paris Agreement, aimed at limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius, and pursue efforts to limit the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.



The Paris Agreement was to be signed in 2016 and was to enter into force upon ratification by 55 countries representing over 55% of greenhouse gas emissions.

As of December 2016, 194 UNFCCC members have signed the treaty, 118 of which have ratified it. After several European Union states ratified the agreement in October 2016, there were enough countries that had ratified the agreement that produce enough of the world's greenhouse gases for the agreement to enter into force. The agreement went into effect on 4 November 2016.


  Kyoto Protocol Success

Those countries who took on targets under the treaty have reduced their emissions by over 20 per cent—well in excess of the 5 per cent target they aimed to meet. 

During its first commitment period, from 2008 to 2012, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to take a leading role in climate action by reducing their emissions to an average of just over five percent against 1990 levels.


The UNFCCC secretariat is expected to complete final accounting for the first phase later this year or early next year.

But according to information submitted by Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in 2014, their total greenhouse emissions at the end of that first commitment period were 22.6 per cent lower than the 1990 base year.

By placing value on emission reductions, the Kyoto Protocol also spurred the creation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that allowed developed and developing countries to cooperate by reducing emissions and boosting clean development at the same time.

There are now 7,800 CDM projects and programmes in 105 developing countries which receive a saleable credit for each tonne of gas they reduce or avoid. This represents some 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 saved to date, which would otherwise have been in the atmosphere.