An International Agreement Drafted in 1997 to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Building ambitions over time – The Paris COP was important not only for the adoption of the Paris Agreement, but also for creating a political moment that prompted states and non-state actors to come up with more ambitious climate policies. The Ambition Mechanism of the Paris Agreement is designed to create similar political moments every five years that draw political attention to the issue of climate change and create pressure to do more. It remains to be seen whether the Paris Agreement will succeed in creating these political moments. However, this approach to creating ambition is one of the most innovative elements of the Paris Agreement and could be applied to other environmental issues. Developed and developing countries have different roles under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. When the Kyoto Protocol was developed, it was recognized that most of the greenhouse gas pollution currently present in the atmosphere came from developed countries and that most of it came from a single source – the United States (Figure 17.1). It is not right to ask developing countries, which have contributed little to the creation of the problem, to reduce their emissions and perhaps delay their economic growth. As a result, only developed countries have had to accept emission reductions. Countries that would have to reduce their emissions if they agreed to be part of the Kyoto Protocol were listed in Annex 1 to the Protocol and are therefore sometimes referred to as Annex 1 countries. Each Annex I country is required to submit an annual report on inventories of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions from anthropogenic sources and removals of sinks under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. These countries designate a person (called a «designated national authority») to create and manage their greenhouse gas inventory.

Virtually all non-Annex I countries have also established a designated national authority to implement their Kyoto commitments, in particular the «CDM process». This determines which GHG projects they wish to propose to the CDM Board for accreditation. Paris Agreement, 2015. The most important global climate agreement to date, the Paris Agreement, requires all countries to make emission reduction commitments. Governments set targets known as Nationally Determined Contributions with the aim of preventing the global average temperature from rising by 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels and striving to keep it below 1.5°C (2.7°F). It also aims to achieve zero global net emissions, where the amount of greenhouse gases emitted is equal to the amount removed from the atmosphere in the second half of the century. (This is also known as carbon neutral or climate neutral.) Countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol have received maximum levels of carbon emissions during certain periods and have participated in emissions trading. If a country issues more than the limit assigned to it, it is penalized by receiving a lower emission limit value in the following period.

Currently, 197 countries – every nation on earth, the last signatory being war-torn Syria – have adopted the Paris Agreement. Of these, 179 have solidified their climate proposals with formal approval – including the US for now. The only major emitting countries that have not yet officially joined the deal are Russia, Turkey and Iran. The Kyoto Protocol stipulated that developed countries must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at a time when the threat of global warming was increasing rapidly. The Protocol was linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and became international law on 16 February 2005. 1995 – Parties to the UNFCCC meet in Berlin (the 1st Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC) to set specific emission targets. GHG emissions excluding land-use change and forestry (LUCF) reported by 122 non-Annex I Parties for 1994 or the nearest reported year amounted to 11.7 billion tonnes (billion = 1,000,000,000) of CO2 equivalent. CO2 accounted for the largest share of emissions (63%), followed by methane (26%) and nitrous oxide (N2O) (11%). 1992: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development is held in Rio de Janeiro. This results, inter alia, in the Framework Convention on Climate Change («UNFCCC» or «UNFCCC»).

Article 25 of the Protocol provides that the Protocol «shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention, including those listed in Annex I and representing in total at least 55 per cent of the total carbon dioxide emissions of Annex I countries for 1990, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession». [94] Montreal Protocol, 1987. Although the Montreal Protocol [PDF] was not designed to combat climate change, it was a historic environmental agreement that has become a model for future diplomacy on the issue. All countries in the world eventually ratified the treaty, which required them to stop producing substances that damage the ozone layer, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). The Protocol has succeeded in eliminating almost 99 per cent of these ozone-depleting substances. In 2016, the parties agreed on the Kigali Amendment to also reduce their production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. 38 industrialized countries have committed to limiting their greenhouse gas emissions. Since the United States has not ratified and Canada has withdrawn, emission limits have remained in effect for 36 countries. Everyone stuck to the Minutes. However, nine countries (Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain and Switzerland) had to resort to flexibility mechanisms because their national emissions were slightly above their targets.

[7] Although the Kyoto Protocol was a revolutionary diplomatic achievement, its success was far from assured. In fact, reports published in the first two years after the treaty entered into force suggested that most participants would not meet their emissions targets. However, even if the targets were met, the ultimate environmental benefits would not be significant, according to some critics, since China, the world`s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and the United States, the world`s second largest emitter, would not be bound by the protocol (China because of its status as a developing country and the United States because it had not ratified the protocol). .