Thursday, December 01, 2005

"The Kyoto Protocol is now fully operational"

Delegates at the Montreal conference on climate change have adopted the rules for limiting emissions of greenhouse gases under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol

All but one of the 22 sections of the rules were agreed, but Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, tried to put a spanner in the works by arguing that it wanted rules on compliance to be approved by an amendment to be ratified by all nations.

This would take years.

Jennifer Morgan, climate policy expert at the WWF environmental group, said Saudi Arabia was an ally of the United States and opposes talk about what to do after 2012.

Nevertheless, "This is an historic step," said Canadian Environment Minister Stephane Dion, host of the November 28-December 9 talks involving 190 nations.

"The Kyoto Protocol is now fully operational," he said. Kyoto obliges about 40 rich nations to curb their emissions of heat-trapping gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels in factories, cars and power plants, by 2012.

The big rule book includes details of accounting for greenhouse gases, how to encourage investments in developing countries, rules for trade in greenhouse gas emissions and piles of other operational details.

"I'm absolutely confident that we'll have agreements on the compliance system," said Richard Kinley, acting head of the secretariat of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change which oversees Kyoto.

"This gives the Kyoto Protocol the most innovative rule book we have in multilateral environmental agreements," said Artur Runge-Metzger, head of the European Commission delegation.

Sounds good. But in fact it is highly modest in the face of the challenge facing us.

Kyoto obliges about 40 developed nations to cut their emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

The process to reach this agreement began in 1992. Did someone say that thirteen years is a short time in politics?

Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ; ;

No comments: