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Glossary - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Adopted in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 by 154 Nations and the European Community, the UNFCCC entered into force on March 21, 1994. In 2004, it was ratified by 189 countries. This Convention is the first attempt, in the framework of the UN, to try to better understand what climate change is and how to fix it.

According to the UNFCCC website , "the Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Under the Convention, governments:

  • gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and best practices
  • launch national strategies for addressing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to expected impacts, including the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries
  • cooperate in preparing for adaptation to the impacts of climate change ."

In 1997, governments agreed to make an addendum to that treaty, called the Kyoto Protocol, which contains stronger measures (legally binding). The Protocol entered into force February 16, 2005. And since 1988, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is reviewing the scientific research and provides governments with summaries and advice on climate issues.

The major distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.

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