THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (FCCC) Historical Aspects: • In 1990 the UN General Assembly established a Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee who drafted the Convention • In June 1992 the Convention was opened for signature at the Rio Earth Summit; it was signed there by 154 countries (175 today) THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (FCCC) Objective: • "to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner" THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (FCCC) Commitments: • All Parties have common but differentiated responsibilities (such as national inventories) • Developed country Parties and other Parties included in Annex I (developed countries + countries that are undergoing a transition to a market economy) have specific commitments (such as to limit its anthropogenic emissions, enhance its greenhouse sinks and reservoirs, coordinate relevant economic and administrative instruments to achieve the objective of the Convention, should provide new and additional financial resources to meet the full costs incurred by developing country Parties in complying with their obligation, etc.) THE KYOTO PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE Historical Aspects: • In 1995 in Berlin, the first session of the Conference of the Parties considered that the commitment of developed countries to aim at returning their emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000 was inadequate. So the "Berlin Mandate" launched a new round of talks on strengthening developed country commitments. • In December 1997, 10,000 delegates, journalists and observers participated in a conference in Kyoto, Japan. The Kyoto Protocol was opened for signature on March 1998. THE KYOTO PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE Objective: • The conference in Kyoto resulted in a consensus decision to adopt a Protocol under which industrialized countries will reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% compared to 1990 levels by the period 2008-2012 (and that way producing a reversal of the upward trend in emissions that started in these countries 150 years ago). • The Kyoto Protocol will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 55 Parties to the Convention, including developed countries accounting for at least 55% of the total 1990 CO2 emissions from this industrialized group. THE KYOTO PROTOCOL TO THE CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE Total CO2 emissions since 1950 (billions of tons) Annex 1 Countries Emissions US 186.1 European Union 127.8 Russia 68.4 Japan 31.2 Ukraine 21.7 Canada 14.9 Non-Annex 1 Countries China 57.6 India 15.5 CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM (CDM) • • • • The Clean Development Mechanism is defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol: Art. 12.2: "The purpose of the CDM shall be to assist Parties not included in Annex I in achieving SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, and to assist Parties included in Annex I in achieve compliance with their quantified EMISSIONS LIMITATION AND REDUCTION COMMITMENTS" Art. 12.3: "a) Parties not included in Annex I will benefit from project activities resulting in certified emissions reductions, and (b) Parties included in Annex I may use the certified emissions reductions accruing from such project activities to contribute to compliance with PART of their quantified emissions limitation and reduction commitments" Article 12 also sets out the basic conditions and procedures to be followed to qualify project activities for certified emissions reductions: a) voluntary participation; b) real, measurable, and long-term benefits related to the mitigation of climate change; c) reductions in emissions that are ADDITIONAL to any that would occur in the absence of the certified project activity CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM (CDM) The significance of CDM: • • • • • CDM has two goals: to lower the overall cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while also supporting sustainable development initiatives within developing countries CDM allows developed countries to invest in low-cost abatement opportunities in developing countries and receive credit for the resulting emissions reductions. Developed countries can then apply this credit against their 2008-2012 targets, reducing the cutbacks that would have to be made within their borders. Because many abatement opportunities are less expensive in developing countries, this increases the economic efficiency of achieving initial GHG emissions reductions. Because GHG emissions contribute equally to climate change irrespective of where they occur, the impact on the global environment is the same. A GLOBAL CARBON MARKET (from Latin Trade, Sept. 2000) • • • Jay Pruett last year spent US$5.4 million of his company’s money to plant a forest in Brazil. He’s not planning to cut timber or build a resort. But he means to put those trees to work. Pruett, environmental services director for Central & South West Corporation, a large Dallas-based utility company, is counting on the trees to do what comes naturally: absorb carbon dioxide produced by animals, factories and cars, and emit oxygen into the atmosphere. He’s tapping into an emerging market spanning from Costa Rica to Australia, that seeks to assign a price per ton of carbon dioxide processed by trees. Over the past several years, large US, European, Canadian and Japanese power firms have invested at least US$75 million to plant or preserve trees they know they can’t cut down. More than half have been brokered by non-profit The Nature Conservancy, based in Virginia. Meanwhile, a variety of plans are proceeding to trade carbon credits on global exchanges or over the Internet. Analysts say that market could grow to as much as $100 billion in the next few years. Remarkably, deals are being made without any guarantee of a concredte return on investments.