Global Policies on Climate Change

image of Kyoto facility

Figure 1: From CBC News

UN Framework Convention on Climate change logo

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

“In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.” (UNFCCC)

Kyoto Protocol

Initiated in Kyoto, Japan on December 11, 1997 by countries around the world that recognized their responsibility in the rising levels of emissions that are entering the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period was from 2008 to 2012, the details for which were outlined at the ‘Marrakesh Accords’ in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2001. The protocol set global “binding emission reduction targets” (UNFCCC).

On December 8, 2012 in Doha Qatar, the ‘Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol’ and an updated list of emission gasses was decided upon and took effect on January 1st of 2013 and will last until December 31, 2020. In order to monitor these emission gasses, certain regulations are in place that require procedures like tracking of transactions, national reporting, and inspections. Moreover, the protocol has adaption funds to support projects in developing countries of the Kyoto Protocol to help them as they are “adapting to the adverse effects of climate change” (UNFCCC).

Bali Road Map

Begun in 2007 at the 13th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, the Bali Road Map was formed as a two-year commitment to determine the final issues and policies to be discussed and decided upon at the 2009 meeting in Copenhagen. The Road map includes several parties, including the Bali Action Plan, the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action, and the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol.

The plan is split into five categories that focus on its shared vision of reducing emissions, mitigation, adaption, technology, and financing aims. In Copenhagen, Denmark in December of 2009, the parties created the ‘Copenhagen Accord’  which succeeded in raising many “key issues” despite not being adopted. Additionally, “[i]t committed developed countries to $30 billion fast-start financing (in 2010-2012) for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, with priority given to the least developed countries” (UNFCCC)

Cancun Agreements

Created at the 2010 UNCCC in Cancun, Mexico, these agreements constituted “the largest collective effort the world has ever seen to reduce emissions” and “also included the most comprehensive package ever agreed by governments to help developing nations deal with climate change” (UNFCCC).

These agreements set certain objectives within the five-category focus of the Bali Road Map:

  1. Participants would be transparent about the entire process and their actions.
  2. Mitigation goals were set to establish a schedule for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, to encourage global participation in this aim, and to work at decreasing temperatures worldwide.
  3. Continue support and innovation of ‘clean technology’ needed to help solve climate change.
  4. Increase the funds and create the Green Climate Fund to support developing countries. 
  5. Participants help those vulnerable to climate change in the world as they adapt to its impacts.
  6. Forest protection was another priority, as they make up a major carbon repository.
  7. In preparation for future necessities, countries agreed to build up the global capacity to address problems by creating the necessary institutions and systems that will meet all of these goals.

Doha Climate Gateway

The UNCCC was held in Doha, Qatar in 2012 where partners created a timetable to “adopt a universal climate agreement” which will be put into practice in 2020 (UNCCC). Here they also finished the Bali Action Plan’s outline to prepare for an agreement in 2015, while accentuating the need to reduce greenhouse gases and to help less-able countries adapt to climate change. Additionally, the 2013-2020 commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol began. Lastly, the negotiations where ‘streamlined’ into two work streams. The first worked on deciding on and adopting an agreement on global climate change, while the second decided how to increase global awareness and drive before 2020.

Warsaw Outcomes

The UNCCC 2013 meeting in Warsaw helped preparing for a 2015 agreement in Paris, France. This meeting concluded the monitoring, reporting, and verification requisites for each nation. Additionally, the “rulebook for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation”, or the “Warsaw Framework for REDD+” was settled upon (UNCCC). To help global financing of development that will help reduce greenhouse gases, the Green Climate Fund was set to begin in 2014. This meeting also included a special showcase for commercial, civil, and religious institutions for answers to climate change. A main goal of this meeting was to close the ‘ambition gap’ present between expectations and necessities to what is actually being done. Plans to implement national and global policies were also outlined.


J. Alyssa White

Last Updated: August 11, 2016