The resulting Kyoto Protocol was adopted at COP 3 in 1997. To a large extent, at the request of the United States, the agreement included a series of “flexible” or market-based mechanisms that allowed industrialized countries to use different forms of emissions trading to achieve their objectives at a lower cost. However, President Clinton never submitted the minutes to the Senate and shortly after his election, President George W. Bush announced that the United States would not ratify it. Recognizing that many developing countries and small island developing states that have contributed the least to climate change are most likely to suffer the consequences, the Paris Agreement contains a plan for developed countries – and others that are able to do so – to continue to provide financial resources to help developing countries reduce and increase their capacity to withstand climate change. The agreement builds on the financial commitments of the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, which aimed to increase public and private climate finance to developing countries to $100 billion per year by 2020. (To put it in perspective, in 2017 alone, global military spending amounted to about $1.7 trillion, more than a third of which came from the United States. The Copenhagen Pact also created the Green Climate Fund to mobilize transformation funding with targeted public dollars. The Paris agreement expected the world to set a higher annual target by 2025 to build on the $100 billion target by 2020 and create mechanisms to achieve this. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush joined 107 other heads of state at the Rio Earth Summit in Brazil to adopt a series of environmental agreements, including the UNFCCC framework, which is still in force today. The international treaty aims to prevent dangerous human intervention in the planet`s climate systems in the long term. The pact does not set limits on greenhouse gas emissions from individual countries and does not contain enforcement mechanisms, but establishes a framework for international negotiations on future agreements or protocols to set binding emissions targets.
Participating countries meet annually at a Conference of the Parties (COP) to assess their progress and continue discussions on how best to combat climate change.