The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the main vehicle for promoting international responses to climate change. It entered into force in March 1994 and has achieved near universal ratification – 189 of the 194 UN member states (December 2006). A Dialogue on Long-Term Cooperation Action to Address Climate Change by Enhancing Implementation of the Convention was set up at CMP1 in 2005, taking the form of an open and non-binding exchange of views and information in support of enhanced implementation of the Convention.
The first addition to the treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, was adopted in 1997 and entered into force in February 2005. As of February 2007, 168 states and the European Economic Community have ratified the Protocol. Under Article 3.1 of the Kyoto Protocol, Annex I Parties in aggregate agreed to reduce their overall GHG emissions to at least 5% below 1990 levels. The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol marks a first, though modest, step towards achieving the ultimate objective of the UFCCC to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Its full implementation by all the Protocol signatories, however, would still be far from reversing overall global GHG-emission trends. The strengths of the Kyoto Protocol are its provision for market mechanisms such as GHG-emission trading and its institutional architecture. One weakness of the Protocol, however, is its non-ratification by some significant GHG emitters. A new Ad Hoc Working Group (AWG) on the Commitments of Annex I Countries under the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 was set up at CMP1, and agreed at CMP2 that the second review of Article 9 of the Kyoto Protocol will take place in 2008.
There are also voluntary international initiatives to deve- lop and implement new technologies to reduce GHG emissions. These include: the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (promoting CO2 capture and storage); the Hydrogen partnership; the Methane to Markets Partnership, and the Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate (2005), which includes Australia, USA, Japan, China, India and South-Korea. Climate change has also become an important growing concern of the G8 since its meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005. At that meeting, a plan of action was developed which tasked the International Energy Agency, the World Bank and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership with supporting their efforts. Additionally, Gleneagles created a Clean Energy, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Dialogue process for the largest emitters. The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the World Bank were charged with advising that dialogue process [1.4].