History of Climate Change

  • 1989: The United Nations set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to draw attention to the need to halt rising Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and prevent serious global warming
  • 1992: the Earth Summit took place in Rio de Janeiro at which 154 nations signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This set voluntary targets for reducing GHG emissions
  • 1997: The Kyoto Protocol was the first treaty to set legally binding emission reductions for industrialised nations. It was signed by 178 countries
  • 1999: Dow Jones Sustainability index established
  • 2002: Earth Summit Johannesburg
  • 2003: Europe adopts climate emissions trading law
  • 2005: Kyoto becomes law

Note: The first phase of the EU ETS applies to 7,300 companies and 12,000 installations in heavy industrial sectors in the EU. These include: energy utilities, oil refineries, iron and steel producers, the pulp and paper industry as well as producers of cement, glass, lime, brick and ceramics Signatories to the Kyoto Protocol (all industrial countries with the exception of the U.S.) also have obligatory emission reduction targets. Even companies in the U.S. are voluntarily reducing their emissions to - and even beyond Kyoto levels, responding to local initiatives.


"There will be no prosperity without sustainability, but a commitment to sustainability will help us lock in prosperity"

Helen Clark NZ Prime Minister