EU sets out conditions for Kyoto II

8th November 2011

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  • Carbon Trading ,
  • Reporting ,
  • Mitigation



The EU will only support a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period if large greenhouse-gas (GHG) emitting countries currently outside the process join.

The first Kyoto commitment period ends next year and global negotiations on its continuation are stalled, with several countries already part of the protocol, including Canada and Japan, refusing to support an extension.

Talks begin again in Durban later this month (COP17) to find a solution, and the recent EU environment council meeting confirmed the European position. Speaking after the meeting, EU commissioner for climate action, Connie Hedegaard, said: “The EU confirms its openness to a second commitment period as part of a transition to a wider legally binding framework, [but] the world needs others to commit as well, in particular the major emitters.”

Later, following a pre-COP17 meeting in South Africa, Hedegaard went further, pointing out that a second commitment period endorsed only by the EU and other ambitious developed economies would cover just 15% of the global emissions. “This is clearly not good enough. The world is waiting for the US and the emerging economies to commit,” she said.

The US signed, but never ratified the protocol, while developing countries that are now major emitters of GHGs, such as China, are outside the 1997 treaty.

EU environment ministers also agreed that a second commitment period should end no later than 2020, and then converge with a new global legally binding agreement. COP17 must aim to develop a roadmap, with timelines, to achieve this objective, says the EU. It also wants the Durban talks to deliver a robust LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry) accounting framework and address the number of allowances – known as assigned amount units – that can be carried over in a second phase of the protocol.

The EU demands came as the latest annual GHG emissions report from the European Environment Agency confirms that the bloc of 15 member states that are party to the protocol is on course to meet its 8% emissions reduction target between 2008 and 2012. The data reveal that by 2010 emissions from the EU15 were 10.7% below base year levels.

Meanwhile, scientists working on the Berkeley Earth project have confirmed that the earth’s average land surface temperature increased by 1°C over the past 50 years, which is in line with previous estimates.

The project, based at the University of California, Berkeley, analysed temperature records from 15 sources going back to 1800 and found that issues frequently cited by climate change “sceptics” as distorting global temperature figures – such as the urban heat island effect, where urban areas are warmer than surrounding rural ones – have little impact on the Earth’s temperature.


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