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1979 At the first World Climate Conference scientific evidence for climate change was presented for the first time to the international public. In the 1980s awareness of environmental issues increased worldwide both with the public and governments.

1988 The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on “Protection of global climate for present and future generations.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up with the task to gather and evaluate scientific information on the subject.

1990 The IPCC confirmed in its First Assessment Report that the threat by climate change is real. Later this year the second World Climate Conference in Geneva demanded the development of a global treaty. The United Nations General Assembly responded by adopting a resolution to begin negotiations on a convention on climate change.

1992 At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil more than 150 countries adopted the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It took effect on March 21st, 1994. Most UN member states are now members of the UNFCCC, and hence it is one of the most universally supported multilateral environmental agreements.

1997 In Kyoto, Japan, a major extension of the Framework Convention was agreed, establishing legally binding targets for emission reductions. The Kyoto Protocol, however, could enter into force only after ratification by at least 55 parties, including the major industrial countries.

2005 On February 16th the Kyoto Protocol came into force.

2008 to 2012 First commitment period.

2012 On December 8th an agreement was reached to extend the Protocol to 2020.

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