Public Papers

Message to the Senate Transmitting the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith, for the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted May 9, 1992, by the resumed fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change (``Convention''), and signed by me on behalf of the United States at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro on June 12, 1992. The report of the Department of State is also enclosed for the information of the Senate.

The Convention, negotiated over a period of nearly 2 years, represents a delicate balance of many interests. It embodies a comprehensive approach embracing all greenhouse gases, their sources and sinks, and promotes action to modify net emissions trends of all greenhouse gases not controlled by the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. It supports an action-oriented approach to net emissions reduction that takes into account specific national circumstances. It provides the basis for assessing the impacts and effectiveness of different national responses in light of existing scientific and economic information and new developments. The Convention encourages cooperative arrangements by providing for joint implementation between and among parties under mutually agreed terms.

The ultimate objective of the Convention is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations (not emissions) in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. In accordance with this objective, the Convention calls on all parties to prepare national inventories of anthropogenic emissions, implement appropriate national and regional programs to mitigate and adapt to climate change, promote technology cooperation (including technology transfer), promote scientific research and monitoring, and promote and cooperate in the full and open exchange of information and in education, training, and public awareness programs. In light of such provisions, this Convention constitutes a major step in protecting the global environment from potential adverse effects of climate change.

The Convention will enter into force 90 days after the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, or approval has been deposited. Ratification by the United States is necessary for the effective implementation of the Convention. Early ratification by the United States is likely to encourage similar action by other countries whose participation is also essential. It should be noted that the Convention does not permit reservations.

I recommend that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to this Convention and give its advice and consent to ratification.

George Bush

The White House,

September 8, 1992.