The United Nations is at the forefront of the effort to save the Earth from global warming, according to the UN website.
The UN reported
that in 1992 it held an “Earth Summit,” in which participating countries signed a treaty called the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” as a first step toward dealing with the problem of global warming.
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The UNFCCC sought to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change while coping with whatever impacts were considered inevitable, according to its website.
But after countries involved realized emission reductions provisions in the UNFCCC were inadequate, most took part in talks that brought about the 1997 adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, which legally binds developed countries to emission reduction targets, according to the UNFCCC.
There are now 195 parties to the UNFCCC and 192 to the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol calls for participating countries' emissions to be monitored and precise records to be kept, according to the UNFCCC. The Protocol’s first commitment period lasted from 2008 to 2012.
The protocol includes an “enforcement branch”
responsible for determining consequences for countries not meeting their commitments, according to the UNFCCC. It indicated that branch has the authority to penalize countries for exceeding emissions standards, including suspending the eligibility of a country to take part in "emissions trading."
The trading of emissions enables countries that have emission units that haven't been "used" to sell that excess capacity to countries that are over their targets, according to the UNFCCC.
The UN reported Kyoto Protocol signatories in 2012 at Doha, Qatar, agreed to extend the protocol for a second commitment period, with existing climate targets remaining in place until a new international agreement — scheduled to be reached by 2015 — takes effect in 2020.
The UN indicated it also was involved as the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1998 set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to provide an objective source of scientific information.
In 2007, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the IPCC "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change,” the UN reported.
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