The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. The treaty is aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
The treaty as originally framed set no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual nations and contained no enforcement provisions; it is therefore considered legally non-binding. Rather, the treaty included provisions for updates (called "protocols") that would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol, which has become much better known than the UNFCCC itself.
The FCCC was opened for signature on May 9 1992 after an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee produced the text of the Framework Convention as a report following its meeting in New York from 30 April to 9 May 1992. It entered into force on March 21 1994. Its stated objective is "'to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a low enough level to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system'".
One of its first achievements was to establish a national greenhouse gas inventory, as a count of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals. Accounts must be regularly submitted by signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The UNFCCC is also the name of the United Nations Secretariat charged with supporting the operation of the Convention, with offices in Haus Carstanjen, Bonn, Germany. Since 2006 the head of the secretariat has been Yvo de Boer. The secretariat, augmented through the parallel efforts of the IPCC, aims to gain consensus through meetings and the discussion of various strategies.