In 1992, the United States and other parties, including both developed and developing nations, agreed to try to limit dangerous human interference with the climate by participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The parties agreed, among other things, to report on their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other gases whose buildup in the atmosphere is believed to affect the climate. The parties developed standards for these reports and processes for periodically evaluating the reports. Expert teams selected by the parties review the developed nations' reports; staff of the Framework Convention's administrative arm (the Secretariat) assess developing nations' reports. GAO agreed to describe the results of the most recent reviews and assessments of reports from selected economically developed and developing nations, as well as the parties' plans to improve the reports. For the developed nations, GAO agreed to study four geographically dispersed nations with high levels of emissions--Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For the developing nations, GAO studied China, India, and Mexico, which also have high emissions levels and are geographically dispersed. These nations are not representative of others; therefore, GAO's findings cannot be generalized.
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