The UNFCCC does not define ‘climate’ at all, while
WMO says: 'climate' is average weather.
This website will provide information and ask, does science know what climate is?
Daniel Bodansky (I) - On the road to a Draft Convention On Climate Change – Until December 1991
the convention under negotiation was to become a global legal
instrument under the auspice of the United Nations, the legal
assessment of the negotiation process should find particular interest.
In 1991 Daniel Bodansky was Assistant Professor at the University of
Washington School of Law in Seattle. He attended two negotiations
sessions on the FCCC as observer, September in Nairobi and December in
Geneva in 1991, before he wrote his first paper on the “Draft Convention on Climate Change”. He wrote further papers after the adoption, which will be elaborated separately (E-516b & E-516c).
On the onset of elaboration it needs to be emphasized that none of
Bodansky papers will offer a clue why the FCCC does not defines
‘Climate’, and who is responsible for establishing: “Climate change
means the change of climate, which (etc)”. However, some observations
made might be of interest for the reader, although the extracts chosen
will be selective and not representative, recommending to read the full
paper if more than a general overview is desired.
Extract from “Background”: Bodansky (p.5.),
grew out of the deliberations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC), which was established in 1988 by the WMO and UNEP to
assess the science, impacts and potential response strategies relating
to global climate change.
__Following the IPCC report*), UNEP and WMO convened an open-ended ‘ad
hoc’ working group of government representatives, which met in Geneva,
24-26 September 1990, to prepare for the expected negotiations.
__The group identified two options: (1) a negotiating committee under
the auspices of WMO and UNEP, in essence carrying forward the IPCC
process, or (2) a special conference under the authority of the UN
__On December 21, 1990, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 45/212, which established the INC/FCCC.
Extract from introduction: Bodansky (p.5.),
__The result was that, by the end of the December session, much if not
most of the text was bracketed – sometimes in brackets within brackets
the closing days of the December session, many delegations expressed
frustration with the limited progress of the Committee. With less than
six months remaining before the UN Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED), where the convention is due to be signed, most of
the real work of the real work of the INC remains…unresolved …
Extract from “Objective”: Bodansky (p.9),
At the December session, delegation provisionally agreed on the
ultimate objective of the convention – namely, to stabilise greenhouse
gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent
dangerous anthropogenic interference with climate.
NOTE: Concerning “dangerous anthropogenic interference”,
- Bodansky correctly states: ‘climate’; as also
- The 1991 draft text states: ‘climate’; however
- The Final FCCC states instead: ‘climate change’.
REMARK by ‘whatisclimate’
__The Consolidated Working Document at the end of the December 1991
session *), said nothing about definitions, stating merely at the
corresponding place of the Draft (page 9):
“I. DEFINITIONS (To be added subsequently)”.
*) A/AC.237/Misc.17 and Add. 1-9;
Extract from “Conclusion”: Bodansky (p.14),
Despite the lack of progress in the convention, most observers continue
to believe that there will be a convention ready for signature in Rio
in June 1992. The real question is whether it will establish specific
limitations on greenhouse gas emissions, a robust process for future
action, or merely a skeletal structure that could develop later.
REMARK by ‘whatisclimate’
__The Provisional Agenda for 18-28 February 1992*) stated in: 3. Completion of the framework convention on climate change,
“25. At the end of its fourth session, the Committee had before it a
consolidated working document, which had been prepared by the
secretariat under the guidance of the Chairman of the Committee and the
co-chairmen of the working groups.”
*) A/AC.237/16 (11 February 1992)
| REMARK by ‘whatisclimate’ concerning the term ‘climate’
A Draft Convention attached to the: Report of the Intergovernmental
Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change on
the work of the first part of its fifth session, held at New York from
18 to 28 February 1992*), reveals that:
- That the Draft was without a definition on: ‘climate’.
- The Draft has a definition on ‘climate change’, which corresponds to the text of the UNFCCC.
__Concerning ‘climate system’
The Draft defined: ‘Climate system’ means the totality of the
atmosphere, hydrosphere, including cryosphere, oceans and all seas,
biosphere and geosphere and their interaction.
The UNFCCC defines: ‘Climate system’ means the totality of the
atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.
NOTE: A number of documentation from the February session is not available in electronic format,
and it might be therefore difficult to identify clearly who is
responsible for deleting ‘climate’ and the other definitions that
include the word ‘climate’.
**) A/AC.237/18 (Part I)
 Session of the
International Negotiating Committee (INC) for a Framework Convention on
Climate Change (FCCC), Session INC3, 9-20 September in Nairobi, and
Session INC4; 9-20 December 1991 in Geneva.
 Daniel Bodansky; 1992, “Draft Convention on Climate Change”; Environmental Policy and Law, 22/1, 1992, p.5 -15.
 Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on the Framework Convention on Climate Change
 For example:
date: 28/02/1992; A/AC.237/Misc.20, Title Revised consolidated text
under negotiation. Note by the secretariat. Full text: Electronic copy
of this document is not available
date: 28/02/1992; A/AC.237/Misc.20 Title Revised
consolidated text under negotiation. Note by the secretariat. Full
text: Electronic copy of this document is not available
28/02/1992; A/AC.237/Misc.1/Add.17 Title Preparation of a
Framework Convention on Climate Change. Set of informal papers provided
by delegations, related to the preparation of a Framework Convention on
Climate Change. Note by the secretariat. Addendum 17. Full text:
Electronic copy of this document is not
date: 11/02/1992; A/AC.237/Misc.18; Title Technical review of the
consolidated working document. Note by the Chairman. Full text:
Electronic copy of this document is not available