Key dates



First World Climate Conference in Geneva (Switzerland), with the launch of a World Climate Research Programme entrusted to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

1 January


Creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), responsible for assessing knowledge of climate change and its impacts.


First IPCC report confirming the existence of global warming and human responsibility for the phenomenon. This report was the basis for drawing up the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Find out more about the IPCC reports here.

3-14 June


Creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Framework Convention officially recognized the existence of climate change and human responsibility for this phenomenon. Its objective was to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent any dangerous human interference with the climate system. The Framework Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994 and has been ratified by 195 countries. The UNFCCC secretariat plays a key role in organizing the negotiations. It is headquartered in Bonn, Germany.
The Executive Secretary is Christiana Figueres.

1-12 December


The Kyoto Protocol was adopted, which for the first time set quantified greenhouse gas reduction commitments for developed countries between 2008 and 2012.


16 February


Entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol which concerns 36 developed countries, but not the United States and Australia that did not ratify it. COP sessions are now paired with the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP). The Montreal COP session – COP11/CMP1 – was the first Meeting of the Parties (28 November-10 December 2005).

3–15 December


The Bali Action Plan opened negotiations with a view to the adoption of a new international agreement in 2009, to follow on from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

7–18 December


COP15/CMP5 in Copenhagen, Denmark, approved the shared target to limit global warming to 2°C, but no new international agreement was signed.

29 November–10 December


In Cancún, Mexico, institutions such as the Green Climate Fund were created.

28 November-11 December


Creation of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), headed by two Co-Chairs, Ahmed Djoghlaf (Algeria) and Daniel Reifsnyder (United States). The ADP was mandated, under the Framework Convention, to produce a new “protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force”. The ADP has produced various text versions which have served as a basis for work during negotiating sessions in Bonn (Germany). This agreement should be adopted in 2015 before taking effect in 2020. That is the challenge of COP21.



The President of the French Republic, François Hollande, informed the United Nations that France wished to apply to host COP21.

26 November–7 December


The Doha Conference launched the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013/2020) to fill the legal vacuum.


11–23 November


France is officially declared host country at COP19/CMP9 in Warsaw, Poland.

8-13 February


1st negotiating session in Geneva, Switzerland. The UNFCCC countries produced the official text to be used as a basis for negotiations.

1-11 June


Negotiating session in Bonn, Germany. The parties asked the ADP co-Chairs to publish a consolidated version of the formal “Geneva” text as a tool to assist governments in their negotiations.

31 August-4 September


Negotiating session in Bonn, Germany.  The ADP co-Chairs received a new mandate for preparing a new “concise, coherent, comprehensive and consistent” text to be submitted in early October and used as a “final” basis for negotiations.


7 October


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Climate Policy Initiative think-tank publish their report on climate finance: “Climate Finance in 2013-14 and the USD 100 billion goal”. In 2014, $62 billion was raised by developed countries to help developing countries cope with climate change. The commitment of $100 billion per year from 2020, made during the 2009 Copenhagen COP by developed countries, appears an achievable goal.

19-23 October


Last negotiating session in Bonn (Germany). The delegates approve the text which will be discussed in Paris.


30 October


Publication by the UNFCCC secretariat of the summary of the 146 national contributions.

30 November–11 December


France will be hosting and presiding the COP21 in Le Bourget site.