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India to ratify Doha amendments of Kyoto protocol
Feb 03, 2017

In news:

Hoping to trigger stronger climate change action from the developed countries, India is expected to announce ratification of Doha amendments to the Kyoto Protocol.

  • The Doha amendments, made in 2012, had extended the legal obligation of developed countries to take targeted greenhouse gas emission cuts until 2020, the year Kyoto Protocol is now scheduled to expire.
  • Only 75 countries have so far ratified the Doha amendments. It requires ratification from a total of 144 of the 192 parties of the Kyoto Protocol to become operational.
  • Doha amendments have still not become operational because majority of the countries, including most developed countries, have not yet ratified it. India, and other developing countries, have been demanding an early ratification of the Doha amendments by the developed countries. But India itself had not ratified it till now. 

Background:

  • The 1997 Kyoto Protocol had itself become operational only in 2005 and a group of rich and industrialised countries were assigned emission reduction targets for the 2005-2012 period, called the first commitment period. In 2009, the world had tried to finalise a new and more comprehensive climate treaty than Kyoto Protocol, an attempt that had to wait till 2015 to succeed. 
  • Stuck with Kyoto Protocol for the time being, the world had extended emission cut obligations of the developed countries for the period 2012-2020, often referred to as second commitment period, in Doha, but these targets could not so far be enforced in the absence of enough ratifications.
  • The refusal of the U.S., the second largest polluter, to be part of the Protocol and lack of commitments by Canada, Japan and other major developing countries meant that global emissionsactually rose during this period.
  • Under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol only 37 countries have binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, of which only seven have ratified. Under the agreement developing countries are not required to curb emissions.
  • The Kyoto Protocol recognised the historic emissions, which is why it had binding targets for developed countries, and required them to give finances and technology to developing countries. They have not honoured their commitments

How Paris treaty Different from Kyoto

A new climate change agreement for the post-2020 period, negotiated in Paris in 2015 and hence called Paris Agreement, has already entered into force, but its architecture is very different from that of Kyoto Protocol that had put the burden of emission cuts solely on rich and developed countries with specific reduction targets assigned to each. Under the Paris Agreement, every country has the freedom to decide for itself what action it will take.

Significance of this:

  • Even though under it India does not have any binding targets, would give the country more bargaining power
  • The ratification of the Doha amendment by India now is expected to give India a stronger footing to revive demand for equity and climate justice in the negotiations for the Paris deal that would start next year. The Paris agreement would come into force in 2020, when the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end.

What is Clean Development Mechanism:

  • The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
  • The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction limitation targets.
  • The CDM is the main source of income for the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund, which was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Adaptation Fund is financed by a 2% levy on CERs issued by the CDM.


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