Conscious for 30 years of the prospect of climatic reheating and the harsh changes associated with it, the international community has tried to set up a world climatic architecture likely to slow down and contain, at acceptable levels, the foreseeable evolution. A stack of agreements (Rio 92, Kyoto Protocol, Copenhagen and Cancun Summits) resulted from these international negotiations, mixing scientific controversies, responsible factors, uncertainties about national consequences and questions on the coordination of economic instruments which have to be at the same time effective and right. These negotiations reveal a world undergoing fast change, and the persistence of a North–South antagonism. They crystallise different visions concerning the apprehension about time and strongly question the models of development which have been set up.
Keywords: climate negotiations, Kyoto Protocol, climate change, world climatic architecture, development models