is the Kyoto Protocol? - 3rd December 2007
The Sydney Morning Herald)
from about 190 nations meet in Bali, Indonesia,
from December 3 to 14 aiming to launch negotiations
on a new United Nations pact to succeed the Kyoto
Protocol beyond 2012.
are some frequently asked questions about Kyoto:
IS THE KYOTO PROTOCOL?
It is a pact agreed by governments at a 1997 UN
conference in Kyoto, Japan, to reduce greenhouse
gases emitted by developed countries to at least
5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. A total
of 174 nations have ratified the pact.
IT THE FIRST AGREEMENT OF ITS KIND?
Governments agreed to tackle climate change at
an "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro
in 1992 with non-binding targets. Kyoto is the
IT IS LEGALLY BINDING?
Kyoto has legal force from February 16, 2005.
It represents 61.6 per cent of developed nations'
total emissions. The United States, the world's
biggest source of emissions, came out against
the pact in 2001, reckoning it would be too expensive
and wrongly omits developing nations from a first
round of targets to 2012.
WILL IT BE ENFORCED?
Countries overshooting their targets in 2012 will
have to make both the promised cuts and 30 per
cent more in a second period from 2013.
ALL COUNTRIES HAVE TO CUT EMISSIONS BY 5 PER CENT?
No, only 36 relatively developed countries have
agreed to targets for 2008-12 under a principle
that richer countries are most to blame. They
range from an 8 per cent cut for the European
Union from 1990 levels to a 10 per cent rise for
ARE 'GREENHOUSE GASES?'
Greenhouse gases trap heat in the earth's atmosphere.
The main culprit from human activities is carbon
dioxide, produced largely from burning fossil
fuel. The protocol also covers methane, much of
which comes from agriculture, and nitrous oxide,
mostly from fertiliser use. Three industrial gases
are also included.
WILL COUNTRIES COMPLY?
The European Union set up a market in January
2005 under which about 12,000 factories and power
stations were given carbon dioxide quotas. If
they overshoot they can buy extra allowances in
the market or pay a financial penalty; if they
undershoot they can sell them.
OTHER MECHANISMS ARE THERE?
Developed countries can earn credits to offset
against their targets by funding clean technologies,
such as solar power, in poorer countries. They
can also have joint investments in former Soviet
ratifies Kyoto Protocol - 3rd December 2007
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd signed the instrument of ratification
of the Kyoto Protocol in his first act after being
sworn in this morning.
ratification will come into force in 90 days.
is the first official act of the new Australian
Government, demonstrating my Government's commitment
to tackling climate change," Mr Rudd said
in a statement.
Rudd said the ratification was considered and
approved by the first executive council meeting
of the Government this morning.
Governor-General has granted his approval for
Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol at my request,"
United Nations guidelines, ratification comes
into force 90 days after the instrument of ratification
is received by the UN, making Australia a full
member of the Kyoto Protocol by the end of March
official declaration today that we will become
a member of the Kyoto Protocol is a significant
step forward in our country's efforts to fight
climate change domestically - and with the international
community," Mr Rudd said.
said the Federal Government would do everything
in its power to help Australia meet its Kyoto
obligations, including setting a target to reduce
emissions by 60 per cent on 2000 levels by 2050.
also would establish a national emissions trading
scheme by 2010 and set a 20 per cent target for
renewable energy by 2020.
will also lead the Australian delegation at the
opening of the high level segment of the United
Nations conference on climate change in Bali next
week," Mr Rudd said.
Bali conference, which opened today, will set
out a road map for the next round of action against
climate change, starting when the current Kyoto
targets expire in 2012.
Kyoto Protocol was crafted in December 1997 and
has been ratified by 175 countries.
initially agreed to the protocol but later refused
to ratify it, despite being on track to meet its
target of limiting growth in emissions.
new Labor Government today completed the first
four of six steps necessary for ratification.
Rudd signed an executive council minute recommending
that Governor-General Michael Jeffery approve
executive council - Mr Rudd, Major-General Jeffery
and Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard - then
met to consider the minute and its associated
Jeffery approved the ratification and Mr Rudd
signed the instrument of ratification.
remaining two steps are lodging the instrument
with the UN and waiting 90 days for the ratification
to enter into force.
and the environment