In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed. The UNFCCC set out the broad framework for international cooperation to address climate change, including differentiated responsibilities for developed and developing countries. Specific greenhouse gas emissions targets were then agreed under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Australia's emissions target for the 2008–2012 'first commitment period' under the Kyoto Protocol was set at 108 per cent of the 1990 baseline greenhouse gas emission levels. Whilst Australia participated in the negotiation of the Kyoto Protocol, Australian only ratified the Kyoto Protocol with the election of the Rudd Government in 2007.
Continuing negotiations on various UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol issues are held through the Conference of the Parties (COPs). One major issue is what emissions targets should be set for the Kyoto Protocol's prospective 'second commitment period' of 2013–18, and whether developing nations, particularly the larger ones such as China and India, should have some form of emissions targets. It is hoped that progress on these and other issues can be made at COP14 in Poznań, Poland, in December 2008 and finalised at COP15 at Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2009.
Various other forums or approaches have also been used to negotiate international and/or regional climate change responses as alternatives, or additions, to the UNFCCC/ Kyoto Protocol process. These include the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (APP), and the The Pacific Islands Forum.
Australia regularly provides submissions to the UNFCCC outlining the Australian Government's views on key issues relevant to international climate change negotiations. Recent submissions can be accessed from the relevant part of the website of the Department of Climate Change.