Climate Change

International Framework on Climate Change

November 9, 2016

The international community tackles the global challenge of climate change. There are three key instruments that promote international effort to mitigate greenhouse gas emission and to adapt to adverse impact of climate change.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

  • Purpose: Stabilization of the concentrations of greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, etc.) in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous interface with the climate system.
  • Established in May 1992, effective from March 1994. Parties to the convention: 197
  • Differentiation between developed and developing country (“reflecting each country’s “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities”)
    • Annex I Parties: Parties mentioned as having greenhouse gas reduction targets (developed countries and countries that are undergoing the process of transition to a market economy) (Note: There is no reduction obligation.)
    • Non-Annex I Parties: Developing countries not mentioned as having greenhouse gas reduction targets
    • Annex II Parties: Countries (developed countries) with an obligation to provide financial support for the fulfillment of obligations under the Convention by non-Annex I Parties
  • Strengthening of obligations of Annex I Parties (Berlin Mandate)

Kyoto Protocol (Framework until 2020)

  • Emission reduction obligation
  • Obligation imposed on Annex I Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain amount within a specified period of time vis-à-vis no reduction obligation on non-Annex I Parties (developing countries).
    • First commitment period (2008 to 2012): Japan -6%, USA -7%, EU -8%
    • Second commitment period (2013 to 2020): EU -20%, Japan not participating.
  • Established in Kyoto in December 1997, effective from February 2005. Parties: 192 countries and organizations.
  • USA signed but has not ratified the Protocol. (Canada withdrew in December 2012.)

Paris Agreement (Framework from 2020)

  • At COP21 held in December 2015, the Paris Agreement was adopted as a framework applicable to all Parties for the first time in history. The Agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016.