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International cooperation Part IV. The UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol Session 7.

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Presentation on theme: "International cooperation Part IV. The UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol Session 7."— Presentation transcript:

1 International cooperation Part IV

2 The UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol Session 7

3 The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)  Main outcome of IPCC and the Rio Earth Summit (1992), and first international agreement on climate  Choice between 2 possible options:  A global treaty on the atmosphere  A treaty focused on climate change  General objective: the stabilisation of a GHG concentration at a level that would avoid dangerous interference with the climate  Two key priciples:  Common but differentiated responsibility  Respective capacities.

4  Not binding, no mandatory limits for GHG emissions. Sole obligation: GHG inventory to be submitted each year.  Three important mechanisms:  Mandatory protocols  Countries divided in Annex I countries, Annex II countries (a subset of Annex I) and developing countries  This division has not changed since.  COP to be held every year

5 The Kyoto Protocol  Mandatory update of UNFCCC  Opened for signature in 1997, entered into force 8 years later  Conditions: 55 parties, and 55% of CO2 emissions  176 countries have ratified. Only 37 have to reduce their emissions


7 General design of the Protocol  Fixed term: expires in 2012  General objectives: cut GHG emissions by an average 5% from 1990 (base year)  Underpinning principle: common but differentiated responsibility  Distinction between Annex I countries and non Annex I countries  Flexible mechanisms  Heavy emphasis on mitigation, little emphasis on adaptation


9 Kyoto and Europe  All EU-members’ ratifications deposited simultaneoulsy on 31 May 2002  EU counted as an individual entity  EU produces about 22% of gas emissions  Agreed to a cut of 8% from 1990 levels  One of the major supporters of the treaty  EU elected to be treated as a ‘bubble’, and created an EU Emissions Trading Scheme  France: 0%. No need to cut emissions  Germany: -21%. Has reduced its emissions by 17.2% between 1990 and 2004.  UK: -12.5%. Appears to be on course to meet its target.

10 Different commitments

11 Flexible mechanisms  Innovative aspect of the Kyoto Protocol  Mechanisms relying on the market, rather than on states  Highly criticised as paramount of ‘environmental liberalism’  Three mechanisms:  Carbon market (‘cap and trade’)  Clean Development Mechanism  Joint Implementation

12 The carbon market: The EU Emission Trading Scheme  General principle: maximisation of economic efficiency – at the expense of ethics?  Industries are given quotas of emission allowances  Application of the ‘polluter pays’ principle  Scheme started in 2005, all 27 countries take part  Problems:  Price of carbon highly versatile  Covers about half of the EU’s CO2 emissions  Too many quotas on the market  Third phase 2013-2020, with auctioning and a central authority  Crippled with corruption problems

13 Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)  Aims to combine development and climate, equity and efficiency  Economic efficiency: costs of abatment are cheaper in developing countries  Functioning:  Alternative to domestic reductions  Allow Annex I countries to invest in projects that reduce emissions in developing countries  New carbon credits: Certified Emission Reductions (CERs)

14 Geographical distribution of CDMs


16 Criticism  Reality of avoided emissions  Principle of additionality  Incentive to misrepresent reality  Overpricing and overestimation  Unlimited credits  A country could completely externalise its efforts  Transfer of emissions?  Development objectives ?  Almost no CDM projects in Africa

17 Joint implementation  Similar mechanism as CDM, but in Annex I countries (i.e. In Eastern Europe and Russia)  Provides Emission Reduction Units (ERUs), where 1 ERU = 1 ton of CO2  No new credits  Long and fastidious process

18 Some final words  Kyoto is an agreement between industrialised countries, where developing countries are mostly oberservers:  No limits on emissions  Do not benefit from flexible mechanisms  Treaty focused on mitigation, not adaptation  Role of civil society in international cooperation?  Role of local entities?

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