Final Kyoto Protocol Analysis Shows 100 Per Cent Compliance

Kyoto ProtocolAll 36 countries that committed to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change complied with their emission targets, according to a new study. This map shows the status of various countries with respect to the Kyoto Protocol. Green: Annex B parties with binding targets in the second period. Purple: Annex B parties with binding targets in the first period but not the second. Blue: non-Annex B parties without binding targets. Yellow: Annex B parties with binding targets in the first period but which withdrew from the Protocol. Orange: Signatories to the Protocol that have not ratified. Red: Other UN member states and observers that are not party to the Protocol. Source: Wikipedia.

All 36 countries that committed to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change complied with their emission targets, according to a new study

From Climate Policy Journal

All 36 countries that committed to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change complied with their emission targets, according to a scientific study. In addition, the Kyoto process and climate-related policies, represented a low cost for the countries involved – up to 0.1% of GDP for the European Union and an even lower fraction of Japan’s GDP. This is around one quarter to one tenth of what experts had estimated after the agreement was reached in 1997, for delivering the targets set 15 years ahead. The US never ratified the Treaty and Canada withdrew, but all the rest continued and Kyoto came into force in 2005.

The results, reported in the Climate Policy journal, are the first published results to use the final data for national GHG emissions and exchanges in carbon units which only became available at the end of 2015. They show that overall, the countries who signed up to the Kyoto Protocol surpassed their commitment by 2.4 GtCO2e yr -1 (giga-tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year).

“There is often skepticism about the importance of international law, and many critics claim that the Kyoto Protocol failed. The fact that countries have fully complied is highly significant, and it helps to raise expectations for full adherence to the Paris Agreement,” said Prof. Michael Grubb, Editor-in-Chief of the Climate Policy journal and co-founder of research network Climate Strategies.

The researchers found that most of these countries reduced their GHG emissions to the levels required by the Kyoto Protocol, with only nine (Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain and Switzerland) emitting higher levels. The nine countries only just overshot their targets – in total by around 1% of the average annual emissions capped under Kyoto – and were able to comply with the Protocol using the “flexibility” mechanisms. The researchers also found that overall compliance would have also been achieved even without the so-called ‘hot-air,’ (windfall emission reductions from Eastern Bloc countries).

Abstract

This article provides an ex post analysis of the compliance of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol during the first commitment period (2008–2012) based on the final data for national GHG emissions and exchanges in carbon units that became available at the end of 2015. On the domestic level, among the 36 countries that fully participated in the Kyoto Protocol, only nine countries emitted higher levels of GHGs than committed and therefore had to resort to flexibility mechanisms. On the international level – i.e. after the use of flexibility mechanisms – all Annex B Parties are in compliance. Countries implemented different compliance strategies: purchasing carbon units abroad, stimulating the domestic use of carbon credits by the private sector and incentivizing domestic emission reductions through climate policies.
Overall, the countries party to the Protocol surpassed their aggregate commitment by an average 2.4 GtCO2e yr–1. Of the possible explanations for this overachievement, ‘hot-air’ was estimated at 2.2 GtCO2e yr–1, while accounting rules for land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) further removed 0.4 GtCO2e yr–1 from the net result excluding LULUCF. The hypothetical participation of the US and Canada would have reduced this overachievement by a net 1 GtCO2e yr–1. None of these factors – some of which may be deemed illegitimate – would therefore on its own have led to global non-compliance, even without use of the 0.3 GtCO2e of annual emissions reductions generated by the Clean Development Mechanism. The impact of domestic policies and ‘carbon leakage’ – neither of which is quantitatively assessed here – should not be neglected either.
Policy relevance
Given the ongoing evolution of the international climate regime and the adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015, we believe that there is a need to evaluate the results of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. To our knowledge there has been no overarching quantitative ex post assessment of the Kyoto Protocol based on the final emissions data for 2008–2012, which became available in late 2015. This article attempts to fill this gap, focusing on the domestic and international compliance of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in the first commitment period.

Citation

Igor Shishlov, Romain Morel and Valentin Bellassen; Compliance of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in the first commitment period; Climate Policy journal DOI:10.1080/14693062.2016.1164658

Source

Climate Policy Journal news release.

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