The First-Ever UN Treaty To Combat Climate Change : Short Wave In 1992, diplomats and scientists at the United Nations negotiated the first-ever treaty intended to tackle the climate change. This brought the issue to the forefront and led to a series of conferences that have occurred almost every year for the next 30 years.

Short Wave host Emily Kwong talks to freelance climate reporter, Dan Charles about how those at the conference wrote a clear and ambitious goal that they didn't even fully understand. Plus — why it rattled the fossil fuel industry.

This is part 2 of a two-part series. For part 1, check out "A Climate Time Capsule (Part 1): The Start of the International Climate Change Fight"

Email Short Wave at ShortWave@NPR.org.

A Climate Time Capsule, Part 2: The Start of the International Climate Change Fight

A Climate Time Capsule, Part 2: The Start of the International Climate Change Fight

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U.S. President George Bush jokes with French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau, center, and Jo Elizabeth Butler, the legal adviser of the Climate Change Secretariat, in Rio de Janeiro after signing the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, June 12, 1992. The draft was hammered out the month before in New York. Dennis Cook / AP hide caption

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Dennis Cook / AP

U.S. President George Bush jokes with French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau, center, and Jo Elizabeth Butler, the legal adviser of the Climate Change Secretariat, in Rio de Janeiro after signing the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, June 12, 1992. The draft was hammered out the month before in New York.

Dennis Cook / AP

In 1992, diplomats and scientists at the United Nations negotiated the first-ever treaty intended to tackle the climate change. This brought the issue to the forefront and led to a series of conferences that have occurred almost every year for the next 30 years.

Short Wave host Emily Kwong talks to freelance climate reporter, Dan Charles about how those at the conference wrote a clear and ambitious goal that they didn't even fully understand. Plus — why it rattled the fossil fuel industry.

This is part 2 of a two-part series. For part 1, check out "A Climate Time Capsule (Part 1): The Start of the International Climate Change Fight"

Email Short Wave at ShortWave@NPR.org.

This episode was produced by Thomas Lu, edited by Gisele Grayson, and fact-checked by Margaret Cirino. Stu Rushfield was the audio engineer.