30 years of international climate policy

WHRC has a long and rich history of impacting international climate policy. Through the years, our scientists have helped to discover and implement strategies for climate change mitigation. We are proud of our past and more motivated than ever to do our part in identifying and pursuing opportunities for conservation, restoration and economic development around the world.


May 02

WHRC Ranked As A Top Influential Climate Change Think Tank 3rd Year

The International Center for Climate Governance ranks WHRC the world’s most influential Climate Change Think Tank for a third straight year.

Sep 14

WHRC again ranked top climate change think tank

The International Center for Climate Governance again ranks WHRC the world’s most influential Climate Change Think Tank.

Sep 13

COP21: Paris Agreement

Paris, France: 196 countries sign the Paris Agreement aimed to limit global warming to less than 2oC.

Sep 14

WHRC ranked world’s most influential Climate Change Think Tank

The International Center for Climate Governance ranks WHRC the world’s most influential Climate Change Think Tank of 2014.

Sep 13

IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

WHRC scientists contribute to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report.

Sep 12

COP21: Lima Accord

Lima, Peru: The goal of COP20 is the creation a draft agreement requiring emissions reductions by all signatories in advance of COP21. The resulting Lima Accord commits all signatories to create national emissions reduction plans. WHRC scientists participate in four official side events.

Sep 14

WHRC ranked as a top influential climate change think tank

WHRC is ranked as one of the world’s top three most influential Climate Change Think Tanks by the International Center for Climate Governance.

Sep 13


Warsaw, Poland: COP19 adopts decisions to further advance the Durban Platform, the Green Climate Fund and Long-Term Finance, and the Warsaw Framework for REDD+.

Sep 14

COP18: Doha Amendment

Doha, Qatar: The Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol is adopted.

Sep 14


Durban, South Africa: COP17 seeks to resolve the relationship between the Kyoto Protocol and the global climate change agreement. WHRC participates in discussions focused on the global mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+).

Sep 14


Cancun, Mexico: COP16 creates the Green Climate Fund to provide financing for climate-friendly projects in developing countries.

Sep 14


Copenhagen, Denmark: seeks to attain a comprehensive policy framework for responding to climate change on a global scale. WHRC assembles a background document to assess REDD readiness, highlighting potential gaps and synergies and encouraging collaboration and partnerships in all facets of readiness efforts.

Sep 14


Poznan, Poland: COP14 makes progress on issues of concern to developing nations, including reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). WHRC gives presentations and leads discussions on four reports related to REDD.

Sep 14

Nobel Peace Prize

Two WHRC scientists are awarded a portion of the Nobel Peace Prize through participation in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Sep 13

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report

WHRC scientists contribute to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

Sep 12


Bali, Indonesia: COP13 negotiations move toward a powerful new mechanism to compensate tropical countries for their reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). WHRC scientists present a report on the Democratic Republic of Congo that draws controversy, highlighting that the majority of carbon emissions come from smallholders rather than industrial interests.

Sep 14

COP12: climate change mitigation policies

Nairobi, Kenya: COP12 focuses on climate change mitigation policies that work synergistically with development goals.

Sep 14


Montreal, Canada: COP11 establishes an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).

Sep 14


Buenos Aires, Argentina: Among other issues, the Parties address and adopt decisions on issues relating to land use, land-use change and forestry.

Sep 14

COP9: Clean Development Mechanism

Milan, Italy: COP9 is remembered as the "Forest COP." Consensus is reached on carbon sinks under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM.)

Sep 14

COP8: Delhi Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development

New Delhi, India: COP8 adopts the Delhi Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development.

Sep 14

IPCC Third Assessment Report

WHRC scientists contribute to the IPCC Third Assessment Report.

Sep 13


Marrakesh, Morocco: COP7 seeks to finalize agreement on the operational details for commitments on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Nov 25


The Hague, Netherlands: WHRC moderates the discussion "Capacity-Building Needs of Developing Countries with a focus on the Implementation for the Kyoto Protocol."

Sep 14

Consortium for North-South Dialogue/Partnership for Climate Change

Tenth session of the Subsidiary Bodies in Bonn, Germany: WHRC and several other institutions form the Consortium for North-South Dialogue/Partnership for Climate Change.

Sep 13


Bonn, Germany: COP5 delegates continue work on preparing for the future entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. WHRC experts participate in special side events.

Sep 14


Buenos Aires, Argentina: In preparation for COP4, WHRC co-organizes a workshop to help government delegates formulate priorities and exchange ideas with experts.

Sep 14

COP3: Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto, Japan: The UNFCCC adopts the Kyoto Protocol, committing developed and developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. WHRC co-organizes a panel discussion with experts from Asia’s leading policy research institutions.

Sep 08

COP2 – Geneva Declaration

Geneva, Switzerland: COP2 concludes with the "Geneva Declaration," calling for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. WHRC endeavors to develop additional policy dialogues after the meeting to strengthen ongoing efforts at policy.

Sep 06

IPCC uses “bookkeeping model”

The IPCC guidelines use a simplified version of the WHRC "bookkeeping model" for calculating carbon emissions from land-use change.

Sep 08


Berlin, Germany: WHRC works with governmental delegates at the first Conference of the Parties (COP1) where the Berlin Mandate lays the groundwork for the Kyoto Protocol, committing industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Sep 06

WCFSD established

WHRC leads the establishment of the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development.

Sep 08

Rio Earth Summit

WHRC participates in the Rio Earth Summit.

Sep 06

UNFCCC established

The INC text is adopted and the UNFCCC established.

Sep 08

First meeting of the INC

WHRC takes part in the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to draft the text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Sep 08

First IPCC Assessment Report

The IPCC releases its first Assessment Report, with contributions from WHRC scientists.

Sep 06

The Nairobi Declaration

WHRC and the African Centre for Technology Studies organize an international conference on “Global Warming and Climate Change: African Perspectives,” and issue the Nairobi Declaration.

Sep 04

Conference in Brazil

WHRC and the Universidade de Sao Paulo organize the “Regional Conference on Global Warming and Sustainable Development” in São Paulo, Brazil.

Sep 08

CAN established

WHRC works with the IPCC to establish the Climate Action Network (CAN) to facilitate co-operation of national and international nongovernmental organizations.

Sep 05

International conference in India

WHRC, the Tata Energy Research Institute, the United Nations Environment Program, and the World Resources Institute organize an international conference in New Delhi, India, "Global Warming and Climate Change: Perspectives from Developing Countries."

Sep 08

WHRC convenes intl conference

WHRC convenes an international conference on “Steps towards an international convention stabilizing the composition of the atmosphere.”

Sep 01

IPCC established

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established.

Sep 08

WHRC established

Woods Hole Research Center is established as an independent, non-profit research institute.

Sep 08

Bookkeeping model introduced

WHRC scientist first articulates the "bookkeeping model," still used today to calculate the emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere from deforestation and forest degradation.

Feb 12

First World Climate Conference

First World Climate Conference is held in Geneva and sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Essentially a scientific conference, it was attended by scientists from a wide range of disciplines. In addition to the main plenary sessions, the conference organized four working groups to look into climate data, the identification of climate topics, integrated impact studies, and research on climate variability and change.

Sep 08

Landmark paper in Science

Science magazine publishes a landmark paper led by WHRC founder George M. Woodwell. The study shows that human-induced land-use change might be an important source of CO2 in the atmosphere. A heated debate ensues and the research agenda takes on the important task of developing methodologies to accurately quantify CO2 emissions from land-use change.