|The Global Greenhouse Regime: Who Pays? (UNU, 1993, 382 pages)|
|Appendix: The Climate change convention|
After negotiations which spanned 15 months, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was finalized in May 1992. It was opened for signature at the UN Conference on Environment and Development - the Earth Summit - in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 4 June 1992.
As of mid-October 1992,158 countries had signed the Convention, including the European Community. In order for the Convention to become law, it must be ratified by national legislatures of 50 countries, a process that may take two years.
The aim of this agreement is to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases at levels that will prevent human activities from interfering dangerously with the global climate system. In signing the Convention, Governments agree to reduce emissions of the warming greenhouse gases to "earlier" levels by the end of the decade. States are required to report periodically on their level of emissions and efforts to slow climate change. The target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the end of the decade advocated by the European Community, Japan and most other countries but opposed by the United States - is stated as a goal to be met voluntarily.
To enable developing countries to meet their obligations under the Convention, developed countries agree to provide "new and additional" financial assistance. Such assistance is, for the time being, to be channelled through the Global Environment Facility, a fund administered jointly by the World Bank, the UN Development Programme and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).