Meetings organized by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or "UNFCCC," in Bonn, Germany in August 2010 and Tianjin, China in October 2010 failed to resolve disagreements between some developed nations, most notably the United States, and some developing nations, most notably China, over a global climate change treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012. China has pledged to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, but refuses to agree to absolute emissions caps. Reflecting the political realities of the U.S. Congress, negotiators from the United States have stated that the U.S. (the world's second largest emitter) cannot accept binding obligations under a treaty that does not also bind China (the world's largest emitter).

Beyond the issue of emissions reductions, other matters on which the Tianjin talks attempted to build consensus included procedures for technology transfer to developing countries, a mechanism through which developing countries would be paid to preserve forested areas, and the funding and administration of both a $30 billion fund to assist developing countries over the next three years in adapting to the effects of climate change and a $100 billion per year fund to assist developing countries beginning in 2020. Although governmental pledges to the proposed three-year fund total $28 billion, only $118 million has actually been contributed to date.

The formal "Conference of the Parties" of the UNFCCC, this year's analog to the Copenhagen summit of 2009, is scheduled to begin November 29, 2010 in Cancun, Mexico. Nobody is predicting that Cancun will produce a new treaty, so some are proposing an extension of the Kyoto Protocol for an extra three to eight years, to provide additional time to negotiate a successor treaty. While many developing countries favor this approach, possibly because the existing treaty imposes greenhouse gas emissions obligations only on developed countries, many developed countries oppose an extension of a framework developed in 1997, when the emissions from countries like China and India represented a much smaller component of current and future global emissions.