Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bye bye Kyoto?

One barely discussed element is that the Kyoto protocol appears to have been consigned to the dustbin of history even before its main provisions come into force in January. Nobody talks about a second round of Kyoto targets any more. The Bali roadmap mentions the protocol only once, noting that the new negotiations "shall be informed by... experience in implementing the... Kyoto protocol".

This provides a face-saving way back into the climate fold for Kyoto-refusenik, the US. Nobody is saying so, but it may also wipe the slate clean for countries likely to fail their Kyoto targets. Canada in particular is expected to have emissions 38 per cent above 1990 levels by 2010, rather than the promised 6 per cent cut. Moreover its government has said that it will not, as required by the protocol, buy carbon offsets to make up the difference.

Under the protocol, Canada faced swingeing penalties in a future round of emissions targets. It may now escape them. Likewise Australia, which finally signed up to the Kyoto protocol in Bali seemingly unconcerned that it has no hope of even approaching the target it agreed back in 1997.
-- from How the climate drama unfolded in Bali by Fred Pearce. But:
On Saturday afternoon [15 Dec] the EU gained an unexpected victory. Canada, Russia and Japan had been set against dictating clear emissions targets during the talks but, in a set of discussions including the developed-country Kyoto parties but excluding the US, the three countries changed their minds and signed up to cut their emissions by 25-40 per cent of 1990 levels by 2020. This goes much further than the original protocol, which asked for 5 per cent cuts by 2012
-- from Who bears the load? by Fiona Harvey and John Aglionby.

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