Kyoto Protocol: An effort towards emission cut
The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change aimed at combating global warming.The Protocol was initially adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan and entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of Nov 2009, 187 countries have signed and ratified the protocol. Under the Protocol, 37 industrialised countries (called “Annex I countries”) commit themselves to a reduction of four greenhouse gases(carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride) and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons) produced by them, and all member countries give general commitments. Annex I countries agreed to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% from the
Five principles of Kyoto Protocol
- Commitments to reduce greenhouse gases that are legally binding for annex I countries, as well as general commitments for all member countries.
- Implementation to meet the Protocol objectives to prepare policies and measures which reduce greenhouse gases, increasing absorption of these gases and use all mechanisms available, such as joint implementation, clean development mechanism and emission trading, being rewarded with credits which allow more greenhouse gas emission at home.
- Minimizing impacts on developing countries by establishing an adaptation fund for climate change.
- Accounting, reporting and review to ensure the integrity of the protocol.
- Compliance by establishing a compliance committee to enforce commitment to the protocol.
Responsibility is mainly put upon developed countries
UNFCCC adopts a principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. The parties agreed that :
- The largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases originated in developed countries.
- Per capita emission in developing countries are still relatively low.
- The share of global emission originating in developing countries will grow to meet social and development needs. China and India and other developing countries were not included in any numerical limitation of the Kyoto Protocol, because they were not main contributors to the greenhouse emissions in the pre-treaty industrialisation period. China has since become the largest greenhouse gas emitter. However, even without responsibility under the Kyoto target, developing countries are also committed to share the common responsibility of all countries to reduce emissions. The protocol defines a mechanism of compliance as a monitoring compliance with the commitments and penalties for non-compliance.
The Protocol also lays down the principle that developed countries have to pay billions of dollars and supply technology to other countries for climate-related studies and projects.
Kyoto’s flexible mechanisms
The Protocol allows for several “flexible mechanisms”, such as emission trading, the clean development mechanism (CDM) and Joint implementation to allow Annex I countries to meet their GHG emission limitations by purchasing GHG emission reductions credits from elsewhere, through financial exchanges, projects that reduce emissions in non-Annex I countries, from other Annex I countries, or from annex I countries with excess allowances.
Potential of carbon credit in India
There is a great opportunity awaiting India in carbon credit trading which is estimated to go up to $100 billion by 2010. The country could emerge as one of the largest beneficiaries accounting for 25 percent of the total world carbon trade, according to a recent World Bank report. The country’s dominance in carbon trading is expected to be driven, not so much by the domestic industry, but more by its huge tracts of plantation land, estimated to be over 15 million hectares. Seeing the importance of the carbon market, the World Bank has entered into an agreement with Infrastructure Development Finance Company wherein IDFC will handle carbon finance operations in the country for various carbon finance facilities.