How could it happen that more than a dozen of the most prestigious scientific associations signed and submitted this letter on ‘climate change’ without having ensured that the used terminology is sufficiently defined. Read the rest of the entry
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?

Reference links :
How Spitsbergen Heats the World
NEW 2009


Daniel Bodansky (I) - On the road to a Draft Convention On Climate Change – Until December 1991


As 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[1], before he wrote his first paper on the “Draft Convention on Climate Change”[2]. 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.),

__The INC/FCCC[3] 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 General Assembly.

__On December 21, 1990, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 45/212, which established the INC/FCCC.


Extract from introduction: Bodansky (p.5.),

(December 1991)

__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 within brackets.

__In 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),

(December 1991)

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),

(December 1991)

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’

(February 1992)

__ 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[4], 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)   


[1] 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.

[2] Daniel Bodansky; 1992, “Draft Convention on Climate Change”; Environmental Policy and Law, 22/1, 1992, p.5 -15.

[3] Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on the Framework Convention on Climate Change

[4] For example:

Publication 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    

Publication 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    

Publication date: 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 available    

Publication 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


Essay 2010
Is the term ‚climate’ too unspecific?
Pages 10

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Essays from 1992 to 1997 on CLIMATE
by Dr. Arnd Bernaerts
“Legal Means for Understanding the Marine and climatic Change Issue”,
p.24 presented at the 28th Annual Conf. of the Law of the Sea Institute, Honolulu

“Conditions for the protection of the global climate”,
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Black Sea-Model Case
--Paper, p.53
--Conf-Paper, p. 6


Four short texts
1994 Moscow

1994 LOS

1993 LOS

1992 Nature

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