Ky­oto and all that: the in­ter­na­tional sit­u­a­tion

Element - - Business -

The his­toric strug­gle for hu­man­ity to reach agree­ment on a co­or­di­nated po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­sponse to cli­mate change really be­gan in 1992 with the sign­ing of the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change. This was fol­lowed in 1997 by the cre­ation of the Ky­oto Pro­to­col, which set legally bind­ing obli­ga­tions on in­dus­tri­alised coun­tries to re­duce emis­sions of green­house gases. In all 191 na­tion states signed up, with only the US, Afghanistan, An­dorra and South Su­dan and then Canada re­fus­ing to take part. At that time 37 in­dus­tri­alised coun­tries and what was then the 15-mem­ber Euro­pean Com­mu­nity com­mit­ted them­selves to limit or re­duce their emis­sions, while other mem­ber coun­tries sub­se­quently made a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent com­mit­ments. New Zealand’s Ky­oto tar­get, which the Government claims it is on tar­get to meet or ex­ceed, is to re­turn emis­sions to 1990 lev­els on av­er­age over dur­ing 2008–2012, or oth­er­wise take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the ex­cess by paying for green­house gas

re­duc­tions else­where. Last year at the Doha 2012 Con­fer­ence many of the orig­i­nal par­tic­i­pants in the Ky­oto Pro­to­col, in­clud­ing coun­tries re­spon­si­ble for about 15% of the world’s to­tal green­house gas emis­sions, agreed to make fur­ther com­mit­ments un­til 2020. Rus­sia, Ukraine, Be­larus and Kaza­khstan, Ja­pan and, con­tro­ver­sially,

New Zealand did not.

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