Doha debates Kyoto Protocol

No market benefits for developed countries that are not part of Kyoto Protocol, developing countries demand

By Indrajit Bose
Published: Tuesday 27 November 2012

Two issues dominated negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol track or ad hoc working group on Kyoto Protocol  (AWG-KP) on the second day of CoP 18 meeting in Doha, Qatar. One, on the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol (KP 2), and two, the ambition levels with respect to emissions reduction targets of developed countries.

While most parties agreed that Kyoto Protocol must be preserved, developing countries stepped up their demand that the developed countries must raise the level of ambition because their current pledges are far too low. Civil society groups, too, reiterated that the ambition targets pledged by the developed world amount to very little. “EU has suggested it will reduce emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, relative to 1990 levels. This means it will not have to do anything,” said Asad Rehman, senior campaigner, climate and energy, Friends of the Earth, a non-profit in London.

Parties’ negotiating stances
G77 and China: Kyoto Protocol must be preserved. The second commitment period of KP should begin on January 1, 2013. Developed parties should submit ambitious emissions reduction targets

The EU: Position has not changed. The EU will begin KP 2 in 2013, irrespective of others’ positions. KP 2 should be from 2013 to 2020

Australia: KP is a great agreement. It has achieved much. It has good market mechanisms. But KP 2 must work in the real world; they can’t just be numbers in Annexes. A deal that reflects modern realities is needed, given that global economy has changed. Parties need to be practical

Nauru (representing AOSIS): “What ambition of Annex I countries are we talking about here? They don’t do enough. We are disappointed by Annex I countries that claim they are doing a lot. They need to do the hard work, instead of just talking. KP is not a public relations exercise, and is not meant for creative accounting”

Gambia (representing LDCs)

“Let’s preserve KP. Annex I countries should remove all conditions”

Philippines: There should be no gap between the first and second commitment periods of Kyoto Protocol. The current pledges are very low

China (Representing BASIC position)

KP remains the cornerstone. It should begin in January 2013. Ambition needs to be raised. Developed countries that do not join KP should not get CDM benefits

At the Durban Conference of Parties last year, the EU had played a major role in orchestrating a deal where it agreed to commit to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in exchange for all countries, including major developing countries such as India and China, to agree to a new framework starting 2020.

But it did not increase its earlier targets of reducing emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, which it is expected to meet anyway with its existing policies without any additional efforts. This leaves its Kyoto targets really weak.

Parties agreed that there should be no time lag between the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012, and the second commitment period. Some southern voices made it clear that they wanted a mid-term review of the second commitment period if it were to last till 2020 (see ‘Parties’ negotiating stances).

Another strong message the BASIC (Brazil, India and South Africa) group sent out is that the developed countries that do not join the Kyoto Protocol should not be allowed to reap the benefits of its market-based mechanisms such as the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism).

Discussions are expected to get more heated as CoP 18 inches towards taking decisions on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and the ambition levels. There is also the old habit of developed countries to break the firewall between them and developing countries to contend with.

During discussions under the Kyoto Protocol track (negotiations are on under three different tracks), Australia made it clear that historical responsibility is a thing of the past. “We need a deal that reflects modern realities, given global economy has changed. We need to be practical,” Australia said. But Southern countries may not just give up, yet.

Philippines countered it, saying that any global deal has to conform to the “principles of the Convention” and that the world needs an “ambitious and equitable outcome”.





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