What happened to Kyoto at Doha

Parliament house flag post

What happened to Kyoto at Doha

Posted 11/12/2012 by Anita Talberg


Image source: COP18 website
The latest international climate change negotiations that took place over the last fortnight in Doha, Qatar, marked the end of the Bali Roadmap. This 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change finally signed off on the climate change action plan that had been in place since negotiations in 2007. Coming into Doha there were two main negotiating streams: one that discussed the Kyoto Protocol and how to extend it beyond its expiry on 31 December 2012, and another that looked beyond the Kyoto Protocol to a broader, more inclusive agreement. This FlagPost will outline developments on the first stream. A second FlagPost addresses the other stream.

The Kyoto Protocol extends to 2020
For those who wished to see the Kyoto Protocol continue beyond 2012, there were a number of issues to resolve, the most pressing of which were to define an end-date, determine new emission reduction targets for participating countries and decide how to deal with the transition into a new commitment period. Both 2017 and 2020 had been floated as possible new end dates. At COP18, a 2020 end date was ultimately chosen. It was decided that major greenhouse gas accounting rules would be maintained, thus signalling a seamless transition from the first to the second commitment periods.

Who’s in and who’s out?
Australia is one of only 36 countries that have signed up to the second commitment period. Together, these countries account for only 15 per cent of global emissions. Twenty seven of the 36 countries are European. Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol at the 2011 climate change negotiations in Durban, where Japan and Russia also indicated their intention not to join any second commitment period. Japan has been struggling to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after the Fukushima disaster redirected the country’s energy policy away from nuclear energy towards more emissions-intensive solutions. The other notable non-participant is New Zealand, which may have isolated its national emissions trading scheme (ETS) from global carbon markets by failing to join this commitment period (more details on that later).

New (more ambitious?) emissions reduction targets
For the EU, the 2013-2020 Kyoto Protocol period is ideal as it aligns with Phase 3 of the EU ETS established in 2005. The EU has also aligned its 2020 Kyoto emissions reduction target with its own climate change policy and target of reducing emissions by 20 per cent on 1990 levels. Australia’s 2020 target is a reduction of 5 per cent over 2000 levels. All participants in the second commitment period are to re-examine their 2020 targets and propose more ambitious ones by 30 April 2014.

Dealing with credits from the first commitment period
Surplus emissions trading credits from the first commitment period will be allowed into the second. However, only two per cent of any country’s target may be met by the purchase of such credits. Most developed countries (Australia included) have declared that they will not trade in these surplus credits. It is over this issue that Russia has continually refused to join a second Kyoto commitment period. Russia (and other economies in transition) was allowed an excess of credits when the first Kyoto Protocol was being negotiated as an incentive to join the Treaty. The original Treaty required at least 55 participants representing 55 per cent of global emissions for it to come into force—without the US, Russia’s membership was crucial. The effect of these surplus credits (known as ‘hot air’) has been to depress the price of the credits and weaken the effectiveness of the Treaty. Although the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol required 55 per cent of global emissions to take legal effect, the current agreement apparently no longer has that requirement.

What about credits from projects in developing countries?
A key instrument of the Kyoto Protocol is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM allows developed countries to undertake emissions reduction projects in developing countries and count the resulting carbon credits (known as Certified Emissions Reductions or CERs) towards their own targets. Rallying against Australia and some other industrialised countries at the conference in Doha, developing countries have been resolute that a country must be party to the second Kyoto commitment period to have access to CERs. Under its own carbon price scheme, Australia has legislated that after 2015, liable companies can use CERs to account for up to 17.5 per cent of an emissions reduction obligation. Australia’s participation in the second Kyoto agreement and therefore the CDM has thus been necessary. New Zealand, on the other hand, may no longer have ongoing access to these cheap carbon credits and may need to change the terms of its own ETS to adapt.

Where to from here?
This series of decisions on an extended Kyoto Protocol effectively marks the end of dialogues under the Bali Roadmap. Any unresolved issues are put on the agenda for future UN discussions under the newly-named Doha Climate Gateway. For example, the oversupply of CERs has yet to be addressed. Ideas such as reducing the crediting period of some CDM projects from 21 to 10 years or allowing new types of buyers for CERs have been put forward but not widely accepted. These and other issues will be dealt with in negotiations to come.

For more detail on the Doha Climate Gateway see this FlagPost.


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.

Add your comment

[Click to expand]

We welcome your comments, or additional information which is relevant to a post. These can be added by clicking on the ‘Add your comment’ option above. Please note that the Parliamentary Library will moderate comments, and reserves the right not to publish comments that are inconsistent with the objectives of FlagPost. This includes spam, profanity and personal abuse, as well as comments that are factually incorrect or politically partisan. We will close comments after three months.




Captcha
Generate a new image
Type characters from the image:

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

Refugees asylum climate change immigration Australian foreign policy parliament social security welfare reform school education welfare policy health financing elections Australian Defence Force emissions trading women higher education private health insurance people trafficking Indigenous Australians illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 United Nations Employment Asia Middle East Medicare Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics sport health forced labour federal budget Afghanistan Industrial Relations Carbon Pricing Mechanism politics income management dental health United States aid disability child protection environment poker machines Australia in the Asian Century Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency steroids World Anti-Doping Agency National Disability Insurance Scheme detention aged care 43rd Parliament slavery health system Fair Work Act Australian Public Service governance labour force people smuggling transport debt taxation international relations constitution New Zealand food WADA Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme public service reform law enforcement children's health Aviation foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability parliamentary procedure Senate Senators and Members ALP ASADA Australian Federal Police criminal law Newstart Parenting Payment multiculturalism Youth Allowance sea farers federal state relations accountability Papua New Guinea youth paid parental leave pensions same sex relationships corruption coal seam gas customs planning federal election 2013 Australian Electoral Commission doping OECD crime health risks International Women's Day Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy terrorist groups Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining High Court Higher Education Loan Program HECS military history electoral reform employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union Federal Court family assistance skilled migration banking United Nations Security Council Australian economy forestry food labelling vocational education and training Drugs UK Parliament welfare systems Indonesia social media children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy science social inclusion human rights paternalism terrorism World Trade Organization Australia public health China housing affordability bulk billing political parties water productivity health policy Governor-General US economy trade unions domestic violence export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery firearms question time speaker superannuation public housing election results by-election expertise public policy climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leadership voting Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry regulation Pacific Islands reserved seats research and development new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC ASIO intelligence community carbon markets animal health middle class welfare ADRV Census Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy royal commission US politics violence against women language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage Population rural and regional mental health alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran transparency ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid disability employment Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying asylum seekers Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct integrity retirement Parliament House Australian Secret Intelligence Service welfare standing orders prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines workers financial sector Canada Somalia United Kingdom GDP Tasmania world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession sexual abuse US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea fuel rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition standards conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office NATO work-life balance

Show all
Show less