The international regime governing and providing the backdrop for efforts to combat Climate Change derives from the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
The UNFCCC entered into force on 21 March 1994 and enjoys almost universal endorsement with 192 countries having ratified it. Its ultimate objective is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" (Article 2) through mitigation and adaptation measures, information exchange and cooperation.
Unlike the broadly set provisions of the UNFCCC that mainly encourage all countries that are party to it to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, the Kyoto Protocol, which entered into force on 16 February 2005, sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European Community for reducing GHG emissions by the end of 2012 (first commitment period). A potential new framework is currently under discussion which, if adopted, is expected to set further emission reduction targets beyond 2012. The Protocol invites Parties to adopt national measures and offers three market-based mechanisms to promote green investment: Emissions Trading, Clean Development Mechanism, and Joint Implementation.
The World Bank recognizes that mitigating the effects of climate change is critical in addressing its core objectives of poverty alleviation and sustainable development. To this end, the World Bank actively supports the goals of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, for instance, through capacity building projects for mitigation and adaptation, and carbon finance.