International Climate Change Legislation
At international level, UN member states created in 1992 the most important international climate change treaty: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC).
The objective of this treaty is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” (art. 2 – UNFCCC). The treaty itself sets no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms. In that sense, the trety is considered legally non-binding. Yet, the signitories countries submit national inventories of greenhouse gases emissions.
Moreover, the treaty provides a framework for negotiating specific international treaties (called “protocols”) that may set binding limits on greenhouse gases. In 1995, the Kyoto Protocol was signed and established legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
The 2010 Cancún agreements state that future global warming should be limited to below 2°C (3.6 °F) relative to the pre-industrial level. The next Conference of the Parties, COP 20, will take place in Peru on December 2014.
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