Friday, February 17, 2006

Happy Birthday Kyoto Protocol

It's a year since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force. What's the chance of meeting its goal?

Slim, but possible, says the UN.

The goal is a small first step to force about 40 rich nations to reduce emissions by at least 3.5% below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

The 15 original European Union member states have cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1.7% from 1990 levels.

In 2003 emissions by rich nations had fallen to 17.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2003 from 18.4 billion in 1990.

But the UNFCCC says most of the fall was due to the collapse of Soviet-era smokestack industries. With China and India industrialising fast, this inadvertent gain will be wiped out.

The Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism has the potential to cut 700m tonnes of CO2 emissions by the end of 2012. The UN says more investment is needed in the CDM and JI to meeet the goal.

Richard Kinley, acting head of the UNFCCC, said "with extra measures, Kyoto nations could reach the overall target of at least a 5 percent cut below 1990 levels."

High oil prices are an additional spur, and make investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency more attractive.

In the UK fuel prices have almost doubled over the course of this year.

What's coming up internationally

The Montreal Action Plan (MAP), the key outcome of last December’s international climate change conference in Montreal, sets out how the 155 countries, having ratified the Kyoto Protocol, will negotiate deeper emission cuts for the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

The G8 Summit in St Petersburg this summer will discuss energy security. Governments will have to come up with strategies and incentives to fuel the switch to clean energy and secure energy efficiency measures.

The international climate change conference in November in Nairobi will be where we see how committed governments actually are to implementing the Montreal Plan of Action.

No comments: