Climate change is a human-induced process of global warming, largely resulting from the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and fluorocarbons. Countries are under increasing pressure to curb their emissions of these gases and to enhance carbon sinks in a drive to mitigate the effects of climate change.
However, combating the threats of human-induced global warming requires more than mitigation; it is equally important to reduce society's vulnerability to climate change through adaptation. Adaptation addresses the impacts of climate change, including climate variability and weather extremes.
The United Nations Secretary-General has put climate change at the top of the United Nations agenda, ensuring that the “United Nations system will continue … to bring to bear the collective strength of all its entities as an integral part of the international community’s response to climate change.”
The issue is a top priority for the United Nations system itself. On World Environment Day (5 June) 2007, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all United Nations agencies, funds and programmes to become climate neutral and 'go green'.
The United Nations’ five regional commissions have assumed an active role in coordinating United Nations support for action on climate change at the regional level. They are conveners to support global, regional and national action on climate change.