Last changed: 08/10/2010
The focus of climate policy is to shape and design lasting treaties for the protection of the climate and measures for adaptation to the consequences of climate change. The ultimate objective is to achieve stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
The Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro represented the first international treaty on the climate. Since it entered into force in 1994, annual climate conferences have been held under the umbrella of the United Nations.
In 1997 a treaty with binding ceilings on the emissions of greenhouse gases for industrialised countries adopted on the 3rd Conference of the Parties in Kyoto, Japan, the Kyoto Protocol. It came into force in 2005 after meeting the requirement that at least 55 signatory states ratify the Protocol, and that these states also account for at least 55% of the CO2 emissions of the industrialised nations in 1990. This criterion was fulfilled with Russia’s ratification in 2005. The industrialised states are now obliged to reduce their overall greenhouse gas emissions during the 2008-2012 period by 5.2% as compared to their 1990 emissions levels.
Signatory states to the Kyoto Protocol must commence negotiations for a follow-up agreement for the post-2012 period seven years prior to the end of the first commitment period. The Bali Roadmap adopted in December 2007 marks a binding procedure of negotiations until the 2009 Climate Conference to be held in Copenhagen and at which a new climate agreement is to be agreed.