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Timeline on action on climate change since 1992
1992 At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, governments agree the United
Framework Convention on Climate Change. Its key objective is "stabilization of
greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent
dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". Developed
countries agree to return their emissions to 1990 levels.
1995 IPCC Second Assessment Report concludes that the balance of evidence
suggests "a discernible human influence" on the Earth's climate. This has been
called the first definitive statement that humans are responsible for climate change.
1997 Kyoto Protocol agreed. Developed nations pledge to reduce emissions by
an average of 5% by the period 20082012, with wide variations on targets for
individual countries. US Senate immediately declares it will not ratify the treaty.
1998 Strong El Nino conditions combine with global warming to produce the
warmest year on record. The average global temperature reached 0.52C above the
mean for the period 19611990 (a commonlyused baseline).
1998 Publication of the controversial "hockey stick" graph indicating that
modernday temperature rise in the northern hemisphere is unusual compared with
the last 1,000 years. The work would later be the subject of two enquiries instigated
by the US Congress.
1999 Human population reaches six billion.
2001 President George W Bush removes the US from the Kyoto process.
2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report finds "new and stronger evidence" that
humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of the warming
seen in the second half of the 20th Century.
2005 The Kyoto Protocol becomes international law for those countries still inside
2005 UK Prime Minister Tony Blair selects climate change as a priority for his
terms as chair of the G8 and president of the EU.
2006 The Stern Review concludes that climate change could damage global GDP
by up to 20% if left unchecked but curbing it would cost about 1% of global GDP.
2006 Carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning and industry reach eight billion
tonnes per year.
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The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report concludes it is more than 90% likely
that humanity's emissions of greenhouse gases are responsible for modernday
2007 The IPCC and former US vicepresident Al Gore receive the Nobel Peace
Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about
manmade climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are
needed to counteract such change".…read more
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Data shows concentrations of greenhouse gases are rising faster than in
previous years.…read more