The first World Climate Conference was held in February 1979. At a time when interest in climate change was relatively new, the idea for the conference grew out of industrialised countries’ concern to improve their understanding of changes in the atmosphere. By the beginning of the 1990s the issue was at the forefront of environmental concerns. As many countries push for action, governments are also aware of the risks to economic growth. Oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia want the global community to do little, whereas many small Pacific Island states, fearing a rise in sea level, want immediate action.
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