The purpose of this essay is to review the major characteristics of the Kyoto Protocol’s compliance mechanism and its function. The essay will address the structural elements of the compliance system and how these are integrated and how they operate. Further the essay will discuss the general operation of both the Enforcement Branch and the Facilitation Branch and the powers available to the compliance committee to ensure compliance or resolve issues. Finally, the essay will provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses inherent within this system.
The challenge facing the global community in achieving an effective response to climate change, is that often the long-term sustainability objective of the global community is weighed against short-term economic objectives of States and found wanting. Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), states that the
‘objective of the treaty is to stabilise 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’.
Although the UNFCCC set out a clear vision for the global response to climate change, it lacked the mechanism to ensure compliance. The Kyoto Protocol is an
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The UNFCCC is working with the various governments around the world to stabilize the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere to keep the planet from warming more than 2ºC above pre-industrial temperatures (Watts, 2015). The most noted of the work is the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) meetings that began with COP1 in Berlin back in 1995. The COP3 adopted the Kyoto Protocol, even though it wasn’t fully accepted by all member nations. The COP21 was an effort to legally bind members to their submitted plans of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), defining what level of greenhouse gas production each nation would commit to not exceeding from 2025-2030. Prior to the INDCs, a bleak outlook was forecast in 2009-2010 of global temperature rising between 4-5ºC. That figure was restated by the UNFCCC prior to the COP21 in Paris, to below 3ºC, due to the commitments of the INDCs (Watts, 2015).
Its adoption in 1997 and ratification in 2002 furthered the fight against anthropogenic interference with earth’s climate system. Canada’s commitment began with a goal to reduce GHGs by 6% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012, or 461 megatons (Canada and the Kyoto Protocol 2016). In order to achieve these goals, legal requirements expected policies and measures prepared by the participating countries to reduce GHGs, by utilizing all available mechanisms, including joint implementation to earn emissions reduction units (ERU) to be counted towards the target, the clean development mechanism and emissions trading (Kyoto Protocol 1997). Every year, on the date set forth, every participating country was expected to keep track of emissions limits and performance standards, develop spending or fiscal measures, as well their expectation for the next year and results from the previous (E. Canada 2013). When the first reduction timeline was up in 2008, instead of a decrease in emissions, Canada recorded an increase 24.1 percent higher than 1990 levels. The lack of commitment was superseded by the new government’s ‘Made in Canada” effort to push country-unified laws, though no significant changes were
On December 15, 2011, the Government of Canada authoritatively told the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that Canada would practice its legitimate right to formally pull back from the Kyoto Protocol. The Environment Minister, Peter Kent, was the one who announced this. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement connected to the UNFCCC that sets internationally binding greenhouse gas reduction targets for each country that is in the agreement. There are a lot of benefits as to why Canada should stay in the agreement, but at the same time there are a few complications and setbacks that we will have to face as well. Canada will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases, save money and create jobs, and reduce drastic
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asserts that the time at which it is impossible to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by mid century is precariously near. The 2-degree target was adopted by the countries within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change, also known as the UNFCCC. The UNFCCC also released a report that stated that carbon emissions need to reduce by 40 to 70 percent worldwide by 2050 in order to achieve the 2-degree target. Put simply, we must sacrifice what is convenient and compromise, while we still have the choice to do so.
Subsequent conferences of parties (COP) meetings have proved to bear little fruit, apart from the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, which remains the contractual international climate change regime. However, even Kyoto was not ubiquitous, as it remains conspicuously unsigned by the US. Kyoto set binding target levels for reduction of emissions for developed countries and instituted a scheme that would lead to an eventual wider policy. Central to the Kyoto Protocol is the notion, which first emerged out of the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), which acknowledges the inherent differences between developed and developing countries in their historical responsibilities as well as their respective abilities to combat climate change but calls for a united global effort. The idea is that developed countries proportionally must assume more of the emissions reduction burden as they are responsible for the historical contributions of CO2 to climate change during their industrialization processes, as well as provide “financial assistance and technological transfers” to developing countries. This tenant of CBDR has remained central to each additional international climate negotiation, but has proved to be an unsuccessful governing framework
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was an agreement that was meant to keep emissions to a low enough level that they would not affect the future of the climate. The annex 1 nations were expected to maintain their emission levels at that or lower than 1990 levels. Non-annex 1 countries, however, were not bound to any restrictions or action pertaining to their emissions, and in addition to that, no mandatory scale or limit was added to the amount of time that was allowed until actions were taken. (UNFCCC)
The climate change impacts of greenhouse gases threaten the economic development and environmental quality. These threats indicate that all nations regardless their economic growth should work collaboratively to reduce the emission to a certain level. Hare et al. (2011) argued that “climate change is a collective action problem” thus requires a global coordination from all countries. This indicates that actions from several countries would never be sufficient to address the climate change problem. If a global target to limit warming to 2°C or below is about to achieve (UNFCCC 2010, p.4) a broad range of participation is required (Hare et al., 2011). However, the increasing complexity of negotiation processes is inevitable. Each country will pursue its own interests during the
The UNFCCC is an organisation created to provide and international response to challenge climate change by researching and implementing measures to limit and control the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. Principles and framework are set out to aid the distribution of responsibilities within the countries as a means of reducing the associated greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere has reached unprecedented levels, causing global temperature increase, floods and droughts, a loss of biodiversity, and ocean acidification among others. Failure to respond to climate change will only exacerbate these effects and threaten water, food and energy systems vital for our quality of life. After years of advocacy and calls by international actors, climate change has finally been placed on the forefront of the global political agenda. In 2015, climate change action was recognized as a core goal in the Sustainable Development Goals, and at COP21, 196 parties of the UNFCCC signed the Paris Climate Agreement aiming to limit global warming to well below 2oC (with efforts to pursue 1.5oC) above pre-industrial levels.
Because international relations rest heavily on economic interests, introducing and passing legislation to limit climate change is very difficult. Countries consider their economic situation over their role to protect
recent years, the population of Quebec has shown increasing awareness and concerns for the protection of the environment . Like all the industrialized nations on the planet, Quebec, and more generally Canada, produces huge amounts of greenhouse gas, which have terrible effects on the planet. The Kyoto protocol, ratified in 1997, is the initiative for Governments around the world to act in favor of the reduction of GHG emission. Furthermore, the Government of Quebec has taken action to promote a greener way lifestyle by subsidizing many environmentally friendly initiatives. Special matter was accorded to transportation, which accounts for 42.5% of emissions of GHG in Quebec. Transportation is thus the biggest emitter sector and should be
In that sense, the Paris Agreement can be seen as a success since it accomplished to bring to the table more than 180 countries to commit to a common goal. Not only that, countries submitted their voluntary plans for reducing carbon emissions with the formulation of the ‘intended nationally determined contributions’ (INDC’s). Like Ms. Figueres said “the Agreement sets an incontrovertible new direction toward a cleaner energy future”1. She also acknowledges it only represents a step into a long and hard process. Needless to say, real success will require a lot of hard work and steady efforts to take the Agreement’s spirit and vision to concrete advances.
Among the main goals of the Paris Agreement is to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels” (Paris Agreement, 2015). That is, countries involved in the agreement are expected to implement measures that
As the evidence of climate change became more visible and better understood, an international movement for environmental action emerged. Greenhouse gases were blamed for causing the most damage to the Earth such as flooding, loss of wetlands and massive deaths of corals.
The Kyoto Protocol… insists on lowering global greenhouse gas emissions in the hope of reaching stabilization at some level, preferably one that is not too high. The basic requirement of the