4 Kyoto Protocol |
Usefulness of the architecture
40. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol
was a success in its own termsmany of the countries involved
look as if they will be in compliance with their first commitment
targets. The Kyoto Protocol also created an invaluable architecture
for future agreements, including common emissions reporting, accounting
standards and a compliance system. Whatever the UNFCCC wants to
deliver, it is important that this architecture is kept alive.
Dr. Watts said that "one of the key things that were won
at Durban was that political commitment, through a number of parties,
to that architecture and keeping that on the table as part of
the negotiations looking forward to the future."
41. Between 2013 and 2015 there will be a review
on whether the target to limit the global average temperature
increase to 2 °C should be reduced to 1.5 °C. In the
same period the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change will be published. The second commitment
period of the Kyoto Protocol needs to have a review clause so
that it can act on these findings. WWF-UK pointed out that a second
commitment period of eight years to 2020 has "a certain logic
to it", as the Durban Platform is due to be implemented from
1 January 2020.
42. We recommend
that the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol lasts
for eight years until 2020. In addition it must have a review
clause in case the IPCC report recommends that the target for
the global average temperature increase be cut from 2 °C
to 1.5 °C.
Kyoto Protocol versus Durban Platform
43. There are parallel tracks under the UNFCCC: the
old negotiation track in the form of the continuation of the Kyoto
process and the Long Term Co-operative Action track, and the new
one in the form of the emergence of the Durban Platform which
has resulted from the Copenhagen voluntary commitments and the
44. Prof. Jacobs said that it is "nearly time"
to abandon the Kyoto process and move efforts on to the Durban
Platform. The second Kyoto commitment period is likely to be the
last one, but it is desirable in order that the architecture be
preserved. Rules have been established, for example with regard
to counting emissions tonnes, trading arrangements and the Clean
Development Mechanism and it is important that these are carried
45. The strength of the Durban Platformunlike
the Kyoto Protocolis that it is based on voluntary commitments.
Sir David King pointed out that the Kyoto Protocol "was always
going to be blocked by the United States [and] the follow-through
from the United States not signing up is that China was never
going to sign up and then those two nations take another set of
nations with them." Moving towards a voluntary agreement
allows the process to continue without being blocked. This dynamic
of international pressure has achieved a measure of commitment
from the United States and China, as well as other major emitters,
which Kyoto did not manage to achieve.
46. The current state of the Kyoto Protocol is that
Canada has formally withdrawn and Japan and Russia have stated
that they will not sign up for quantifiable targets under the
Kyoto Protocol. Dr. Falkner asserted that we could put pressure
on Japan and Russia but "that would add very little to the
environmental effectiveness of that agreement."
47. It is highly
improbable that countries such as Canada, Russia and Japan will
sign up to the second Kyoto period. Many of them have publically
stated they will not. Instead diplomatic efforts should now be
focused on the more promising Durban Platform.
Hot air emissions
48. Hot air emissions, also called assigned amount
units (AAUs) are a Kyoto Protocol unit equal to 1 metric tonne
of CO2 equivalent. AAUs may be exchanged through emissions
trading. DECC stated
that the "strict rules" around surplus AAUs needed to
be adopted. Sir David
King stated in additional written evidence: "The biggest
holders of surplus AAUs are from Central and Eastern Europe. If
these countries are allowed to carry over their surplus allowances
to the second commitment period, it will obviously not incentivise
countries to commit to ambitious targets."
49. Conversely it should be noted that such countries
will see this as developed countries changing the goalposts to
suit themselves. Their economies went through the painful economic
transition that followed the 1990s and the emission reductions
from these countries are equally real and have been paid for with
a heavy social price. Russia's 'hot air' has effectively been
removed as it will not sign up to the second commitment period.
It cannot carry over its surplus AAUs if it is not in the agreement.
50. We urge
caution against the Government's commitment to adopt strict rules
around surplus assigned amount units (AAUs) of CO2 and recommend
that it the government does not confuse its two aims of agreeing
a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and its desire
to ensure the maximum net reduction of emissions from the current
scenario. To do so will only raise serious questions of equity
that may prejudice negotiations.
54 Q 10 Back
Q 14 Back
Q 94, Q 123 [Prof. Michael Jacobs] Back
Q 138 Back
Q 94 Back
Q 140 Back
Glossary, UNFCCC, July 2012, http://unfccc.int/essential_background/glossary/items/3666.php Back
Ev 59 Back
Footnote to Q 96 Back
Q 16 Back