Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, CoP15 (Copenhagen Summit), Tarawa Climate Change Conference

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Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol has put in place three flexibility mechanisms to reduce emission of Green House Gases. Although the Protocol places maximum responsibility of reducing emissions on the developed countries by committing them to specific emission targets, the three mechanisms are based on the premise that reduction of emissions in any part of the globe will have the same desired effect on the atmosphere, and also that some developed countries might find it easier and more cost effective to support emissions reductions in other developed or developing countries rather than at home. These mechanisms thus provide flexibility to the Annexure I countries, helping them to meet their emission reduction obligations. Let us take a look at what these mechanisms are.

Image of Kyoto Protocol

Image of Kyoto Protocol

What are the three flexibility mechanisms put in place of the Kyoto Protocol for reducing GHG emission?

  • The three mechanisms are joint implementation. Emissions Trading and Clean Development

What is Joint Implementation?

  • Through the Joint Implementation, any Annex I country can invest in emission reduction projects (referred to as joint Implementation Project) in any other Annex I country as an alternative to reducing emissions domestically.

  • Two early examples are change from a wet to a dry process at a Ukraine cement works, reducing energy consumption by 53 percent by 2008-2012 and rehabilitation of a Bulgarian hydropower project, with a 267,000 ton reduction of C02 equivalent during 2008-2012.

What is Clean Development Mechanism?

  • The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) allows developed country with an emission reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to implement an emission reduction project in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries.

  • In exchange for the amount of reduction in emission thus achieved, the investing gets carbon credits which it can offset against its Kyoto targets. The developing country gains a Step towards sustainable development.

  • To get a CDM project registered and implemented, the investing country’ has to first take approval from the designated national authority in the host country, establish “Additionally”, define baselines and get the project validated by a third party agency, called a Designated Operational Entity (DOE). The Executive Body of CDM registers the project and issues credits, called Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), or carbon credits, where each unit is equivalent to the reduction of one metric tonne of. C02 or its equivalent. There are more than 4200 CDM projects in the pipeline as on 14.3.2010. The expected CERs till the end of2012 is 2,900,000,000

What is “Additionally” in a CDM project?

  • The feature of “additionality” is a crucial element of a CDM project it means that the industrialized country that is seeking to establish the CDM project in the developing country and earns carbon credits from it has to establish that the planned carbon reductions would not have occurred on its own, in the absence of the CDM project.

  • They have to establish a baseline of the project. Which is the emission level that would have been there in the absence of the project. The difference between this baseline level and the (lower) emission level achieved as a result of the project is the carbon credit due to the investing country

What are some of the concerns regarding CDM?

  • The risk of “false Credits” is a cause for concern with regard to CDM projects. If a project does not actually offer an additionally and the reduction in emission would have happened anyway Even without the project.

CoP15 (Copenhagen Summit)

  • Main aim was to establish a global climate agreement for the period from 2012 when the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires

  • The conference did not achieve any binding agreement for long term action

  • A ‘political accord’ was negotiated by approximately 25 parties

    • Collective commitment by developed countries for new and additional resources, including forestry and investments through international institutions to a tune of $30 bn for the period 2010-12.

  • Copenhagen Accord

    • Not legally binding and does not commit countries to agree to a binding successor to the Kyoto Protocol

    • Annex I parties would commit to economy-wide emissions targets for 2020 to be submitted by 31 Jan 2010. Delivery of reductions and finance by developed countries will be measured , reported and verified (MRV) in accordance with COP guidelines

    • Non-annex I countries would implement Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to slow their carbon emissions

    • Commits $30 bn for 2010-12

    • Copenhagen Green Climate Fund

    • The accord shall be assessed in 2015

Tarawa Climate Change Conference

  • In the lead up to COP16, the leaders of the world’s most climate-change vulnerable countries met in Kiribati in November 2010

  • Ambo Declaration was adopted

    • It calls for more and immediate action to be undertaken to address the causes and adverse impacts of climate change.

CoP-16/CMP-6, Cancun

COP-16 President: Patricia Espinosa, Mexico’s foreign secretary

COP-17 will be held in Durban

Image of CoP-16/CMP-6, Cancun

Image of CoP-16/CMP-6, Cancun

Issues

  • Forestry issues and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) plus

  • The developed countries are pushing for transparency from countries where they will fund climate change mitigation.

    • The assessment of carbon emission mitigation for developing countries is right now through domestic communication but is subject to international consultation and analysis. This push for transparency is a major contentious issue.

  • Fast-track finance: $ 30 bn had been committed at CoP-15. A large part of this funding is yet to come through.

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