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Reviving the Kyoto Protocol

Calls to swiftly implement the treaty to keep temperature rise below two degrees

Gulf News

In a bid to control global warming, nearly 200 countries agreed over talks at the UN Climate Change Conference held in Doha, Qatar last month to extend the Kyoto Protocol – a treaty that limits the greenhouse gas output of some rich countries that will only cover around 15 per cent of global emissions.

“Now governments must move quickly through the Doha Climate Gateway to push forward with the solutions to climate change,” Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, President of the conference said in a statement, during the UN Climate Change Conference held in Doha, Qatar in November.

The Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, called on countries to swiftly implement what has been agreed in Doha so that the world can stay below the internationally agreed maximum two degrees Celsius temperature rise.

“Now, there is much work to do. Doha is another step in the right direction, but we still have a long road ahead. The door to stay below two degrees remains barely open. The science shows it, the data proves it,” Figueres said.

“The UN Climate Change negotiations must now focus on the concrete ways and means to accelerate action and ambition. The world has the money and technology to stay below two degrees. After Doha, it is a matter of scale, speed, determination and sticking to the timetable.”

After hotly debated sessions, the extension was adopted by a UN climate conference with decisions including promises of financing to help poor countries cope with climate change and affirmation of a previous agreement to adopt a new global climate pact by 2015.

Between 2005 and 2012, many countries managed to cut their emissions by more than they had promised, giving them a surplus of emissions permits, or AAUs. If these AAUs were carried over into the second commitment period, it could have hugely reduced the effectiveness of the entire agreement, as the extra permits will allow certain countries to increase emissions levels and use their surplus.

“However, it is disappointing those governments who have signed up to the second period of the Kyoto Protocol, which will run from January 2013 – 2020, only account for 15 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, while the first period covered 33 per cent of the world’s emitters. Also, during the second period there will be no involvement from the world’s biggest emitters China and the United States,” said Charles Stephenson, CEO of Dubai-headquartered Advanced Global Trading.