The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adopted in 1992, is the main vehicle for promoting international efforts to combat climate change. A series of UNFCCC meetings is taking place working towards a new international climate change agreement to follow, or run in parallel to the Kyoto Protocol.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, developed countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels—the first commitment period for these emissions reductions was set for 2008-2012.

Several options for a new deal are being considered: a second commitment period for Kyoto Protocol signatories, an entirely new agreement (which may or may not integrate Kyoto commitments), or a set of non-legally binding decisions.

So far, developed countries have set varying commitments on greenhouse gas emissions post-2012. For example, the European Union has committed to reduce 20% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 and 30% if other countries follow suit.

Some developed countries are urging large emitters from developing countries such as China and India to undertake verifiable emissions reductions under the new regime. This has been so far opposed by the developing countries as a group. Developing countries see adaptation as a priority as they are the least responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions, yet most affected by climate change impacts. They are calling for sufficient financing to cover their adaptation and mitigation needs and want to see financial commitments on the table.