About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

1 Rev. Eur. Comp. & Int'l Envtl. L. 270 (1992)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

handle is hein.journals/reel1 and id is 263 raw text is: 

The  United Nations Framework  Convention on
Climate Change (the Convention), adopted on 9
May 1992, was negotiated in response to the grow-
ing scientific evidence of the dangers posed by
increased concentrations of greenhouse gases
(principally carbon dioxide, methane, CFC's and
nitrous oxides) in the atmosphere. These could
lead to historically unprecedented rates of increase
of world average temperatures with consequential
adverse effects likely to include sea level rise,
increased hurricane and cyclone activity, drought
and desertification, and coral bleaching.

UN  Mandate to Negotiate
The negotiation of the Convention was set in train
by the UN General Assembly and its Specialized
Agencies. In 1988 the General Assembly recognised
that 'climate change is a common  concern of
mankind' and urged governments, intergovernmen-
tal and non-governmental organisations to collabo-
rate in a concerted effort to prepare, as a matter of
urgency, a  framework  convention on  climate
change.' Also  in 1988, the  UN  Environment
Programme  (UNEP) and the World Meteorological
Organization    (WMO)      established   the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
to provide the international community with the
scientific guidance necessary to take further action.
The First Report of the IPCC, published in August
1990, predicted a 'best-guess' of increases in global
temperatures of 0.3*C per decade, with an uncer-
tainty range from 0.2*C to 0.5'C per decade. The
environmental, economic and social consequences
of such rates of warming are described by the IPCC
Working Group on Impacts.

The political process leading to the negotiation of a
legal instrument was given further impetus by the

*~~~           r    r1g'Iu

November   1990 Ministerial Declaration of the
Second World Climate Conference,4 which called
for negotiations to begin 'without delay' on an
effective framework convention on climate change
containing  appropriate   commitments.  In
December  1990 the UN General Assembly estab-
lished under its auspices an Intergovernmental
Negotiating  Committee   for   a   framework
Convention on Climate Change (the INC) supported
by UNEP and WMO,  for the preparation of
'an effective framework convention on climate change,
containing appropriate commitments, and any related
instrument as might be agreed upon.'
The INC held five sessions between February 1991
and May 1992 and the Convention was adopted at
the close of the resumed fifth session, on 9th May
1992.' The Convention will enter into force 90 days
after the fiftieth ratification, which is not expected
to occur before 1994 at the earliest. The relatively
high number  of ratifications needed before the
Convention enters force is a compromise between
those States seeking a low number of ratifications
(20) and those seeking an even higher number
(80), as  well as  those  States wanting  the
Convention to enter into force only when a stated
percentage (two-thirds) of global carbon dioxide
emissions were covered by ratifying States.

*  A   Compromise Package

The Convention was signed by 155 States and the
European Community  (EC) at the UN Conference
on Environment and  Development (UNCED)  and
has subsequently been signed by Libya. It is a pack-
age which contains something for almost all of the
negotiating States but leaves none entirely satisfied.
It provides a compromise between  those States


Framework for Climate Change

Volume I Number 3

           The United Nations

Framework Convention on

                 Climate Change

                              Philippe Sands

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most