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The Kyoto Protocol - Common but Differentiated Responsibilities
When the Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997, countries are worried that its implementation would bring about slow economic growth, starvation and political chaos.
The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Kyoto Protocol is a Commitment for the Planet
Developed countries, which started industrialization in the 17th century, are very much responsible for the accumulated air pollution and global warming effect. They have high per capita emissions, produce most of the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, thus they are most bound by the protocol.
Developing countries in their effort to catch up, have also been contributing substantially to greenhouse emissions. Comparatively, their per capita emissions are much lower (See chart : Carbon Emissions Per Person ). Even then, they also need to fulfill their share of responsibilities in the battle of climate change mitigation. Whilst engaged in sustainable development projects, they need to resort to adaptive measures to reduce emissions.
A Compendium of Data on Global Change. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A.
Unfortunately, when the Kyoto Protocol entered into force, the two major greenhouse gas emitters, the United States and Australia, refused to be bound by the Kyoto Protocol.
George Bush, then President, withdrew US backing for the Kyoto protocol in March 2001, saying it would be too damaging to the country's economy and would cost five million jobs. He also claimed the agreement was based on unreliable science and unfairly excluded developing nations such as India, China and Brazil, which account for a third of the world's pollution.
How committed are the countries:
China and US set their own reduction targets to tackle climate change.
China pledges to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20% of 2005 by 2010.
Individual states in the US, led by New York's Governor, George Pataki, were putting together a system to cap and trade greenhouse gas emissions on their own initiatives.
In the US, the White House said President Barack Obama would go to the December 7-18 2009 climate change summit in Copenhagen, with an offer to cut US emissions by 3 % below 2005 levels by 2012, 17% by 2020, 42% by 2030, 80% by 2050
These levels fall short of those embraced in the negotiating blueprint drew up in Bali in 2007.. That blueprint envisions developed countries cutting greenhouse-gas emissions by a collective 25 - 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 80 - 95% below 1990 levels by 2050.
China, almost immediately after US announcements, on November 26, 2009, says it is taking a voluntary action based on its own national conditions to aim for energy efficiency, to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by up to 45% by 2020. Though China is not an Annex I country thus not bound by the Kyoto Protocol to meet reductions target, it is in a very special category as it had by 2007,overtaken US as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. As Kim Carstensen, the leader of WWF’s global climate initiative put it: “Given the size of China’s economy, the decoupling of China’s economic growth from growth in emissions is one of the most important factors that will determine whether the world can get on course to keep temperature rise below two degrees Celsius."
"Japan will make all efforts to respect the rules of the protocol. It will neither be easy nor insurmountable." Takashi Omura, of the Japanese environment ministry. Japan has offered up a 25% cut below 1990 levels by 2020.
"Until the major polluters of the world, including the US and China, are made part of the Kyoto regime, it is next to useless and indeed harmful for a country such as Australia to sign up." Prime Minister John Howard
"The time has come to confront a reality that puts at risk the equilibrium of the planet and the survival of our species." President Vicente Fox
"We are eager to engage in a constructive, forward-looking international process with all our partners on how we can achieve the necessary reductions" European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso
Europe by Nov 2009, has indicated it is striving to reduce EU emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 – and intend to a further reduction to 30% by then if other industrial countries commit ambitious plans of their own.
So far, according to the outcome of the Bali Climate Conference, the mechanisms for implementing the finance and technology transfer resources, have been disappointing. There is a large development deficit in terms of unfulfilled finance and technology obligations. Many developing countries are also disappointed that even this limited resources available are channeled into mitigation, thus neglecting adaptation or development.
In addition, developed countries (Annex
I countries) have not made enough progress in meeting their
reduction targets. The UNFCCC's " Greenhouse Gas Data 2006" report
reported a worrying upward trend in the 2000 - 2004 period. The UN
References and related news:
CERs Charts: Cdm.ccchina.gov.cn
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