"In December 2007, the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held their 13th annual meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and began the process of working toward an agreement/treaty that would succeed the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC when it expires in 2012. The Protocol includes a mandate for a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 38 developed/industrialized nations to an average of some 5% below their 1990 levels over the commitment period 2008- 2012. The outcome of this 'conference of the parties' (COP-13) in 2007 was the 'Bali Action Plan,' outlining considerations to be taken up in negotiations during the following two years. A 'decision' is to be negotiated and finalized at the parties' meeting (COP-15) at the end of 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Whether this decision can encompass a follow-on treaty or instead reflect only progress toward such a treaty remains a question, given the short time until the 2009 deadline and the complexity of the issues involved. The broad array of these issues, briefly discussed in this report, has been described by some as comprising perhaps the most complex negotiations ever undertaken internationally."
CRS Report for Congress, RS22899