The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was negotiated over two ferocious years (1991 to early 1992, in meetings of the “International Negotiating Committee”. The text was agreed by May 1992, and opened for signature at the Rio “Earth Summit.”  Once enough nations had ratified it (took place in 1994) the “Conference of the Parties” (COP) annual meetings started happening. The first one, in March-April 1995 was held in Berlin. By the third meeting, in Kyoto in 1997, they settled into a format of always being in November or December.

You can read the text of the UNFCCC here.  Article 2 is kind of important, and, of course, ancient history and meaningless. Oh well.

Here’s my brief history of protests at these summits Citizens, arrests, and 7 metere dinsours – the history of UN climate summit protests 

Before the COPS

Second World Climate Conference (November 1990)





Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ms Penny Wensley,was elected to a position of Vice Chair of the INC on Climate Change during the meeting of the committee in New York, USA.




INC 9 The INC held its ninth session from 7-18 February 1994, in Geneva.
1994 The ninth session of INC (INC 9), which reviewed the adequacy of current commitments by industrialised countries, was held in Geneva, Switzerland. The USA and other countries called the FCCC ‘inadequate’ in addressing future reductions (post 2000) of greenhouse gases

INC 10 The tenth session of the INC was held from 22 August – 2 September 1994, in Geneva
It negotiated the possible introduction of European Union and AOSIS protocols’.

INC 11 The eleventh and final session of the INC met from 6-17 February 1995 in New York

“While developed countries will lead, Australia expects that developing countries will also over time take increased action to mitigate climate change,” Australia’s Ms Wensley told last week’s INC. “In other words, for developed countries to lead, we will need to be followed.” But China, India and Malaysia now angrily attack such calls to extend greenhouse gas restrictions to developing nations when these same industrialised countries are falling short of their own emission targets – and when they are also the biggest greenhouse polluters….

The Keating Government’s report to the INC says its existing policies will cut the 1990-2000 growth of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions from 14 per cent to 7 per cent – a growth it suggests would be “a very respectable outcome in comparison to other developed countries”. But a review of industrialised countries’ greenhouse programs compiled by the US Climate Action Network claims that Australia overstates the extent to which its “vague and non-specific” strategy is being implemented.

Stutchbury, M. 1995. Australia and the methane-too generation. The Australian Financial Review, 13 February, p.1

and, naturlich-

Anon. 1995. GCC Attacks Int’l Carbon Tax, Regulation Proposals Before U.N. Global Warming Network Online Today, 13 February

in which developing countries such as China and the OPEC group expressed concern over moves to strengthen their commitments.

During climate treaty negotiations which are continuing this week at the United Nations, a number of countries have called for international taxes, regulations, and standards to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. If agreed to by the U.S., these measures would damage the nation’s economic growth and its ability to compete in the global economy, according to the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), which represents approximately 50 U.S. companies.

The GCC expressed alarm that the U.S. delegation participating in the latest round of global climate change negotiations failed to voice opposition to these initiatives.

John Shlaes, GCC executive director, called the proposals a back door approach to gain competitive advantages and noted that many of the same countries pushing these proposals had conceded difficulty in meeting their own existing goals for reducing greenhouse gases.


The COPs

These aren’t complete yet – for each one I intend to have a basic description of what happened, and – crucially – what the Australian “position” was.  And some links.  This may take time…

1995 COP 1- Berlin

AGBM 1 – 21-25 August 1995

1996 COP 2- Geneva

1997 COP 3 – Kyoto

1998 COP 4 – Buenos Aires

1999 COP 5 – Bonn

2000 COP 6 – The Hague [collapsed and was finished off in Bonn the following year]

2001 COP 7 – Marrakech

2002 COP 8 – New Delhi

2003 COP 9 – Milan

2004 COP 10- Buenos Aires

2005 COP 11- Montreal

2006 COP 12 – Nairobi

2007 COP 13 – Bali

2008 COP 14 – Poznan

2009 COP 15 – Copenhagen

2010 COP 16- Cancun

2011 COP 17- Durban

2012 COP 18- Doha

2013 COP 19- Warsaw

2014 COP 20 – Lima

2015 COP 21 – Paris

2016 COP 22 – Marrakech

2017 COP 23 – Bonn (‘hosted by Fiji’)


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