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Industrialized Countries Emissions Tops In 2005

UNFCCC: Emissions of industrialized countries rose to all time high in 2005

According to data recently submitted to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the total greenhouse gas emissions of 40 industrialized countries rose to a near all-time high in 2005, continuing the upward trend of the year before.

The increases in emissions came from both the continued growth in highly industrialized countries and the revived economic growth in former East bloc nations. At the sectoral level, emissions from the transport sector grew at the highest rate.

Taken together, the countries that signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol are projected to achieve reductions on the order of 11 per cent for the first Kyoto commitment period, from 2008 to 2012, provided policies and measures adopted by these countries deliver the reductions as projected. The Kyoto Protocol commits industrialized countries to a 5 per cent reduction target in 2008-2012 compared to 1990 levels.

But whilst the European Union as a whole is projected to achieve its objective making use of the "Kyoto mechanisms" such as emissions trading, other Kyoto Parties are projected to see an upward trend in emissions.

"For the totality of Kyoto signatory countries, reductions of 15 per cent are feasible should additional policies be planned and implemented," said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. "But we should not hide the fact that there is continuing greenhouse gas emissions growth on the part of several countries and that they must do more to reign in their emissions."

To assist Parties in their efforts, the UN Climate Change Secretariat has put in place comprehensive review processes for emissions data and policy-related information, and also established technical infrastructure for emissions trading.

"What is positive is that Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have been taking their commitments very seriously in as much they have been putting in place policies and infrastructure to support Kyoto implementation, including registries for emissions accounting and national systems for the assessment of emission levels," said Mr. de Boer. "International carbon trading can be taken to a higher level next year," he added.

Many countries are preparing to make active use of the Kyoto Protocol's "flexible mechanisms" to reach their goal, which allow industrialized countries to meet their emission reduction obligations in a cost-effective manner. The flexibility mechanisms of the Protocol are emissions trading, the clean development mechanism (CDM) and joint implementation (JI). These mechanisms allow industrialized countries to purchase emission reductions abroad at lower cost than reducing emissions at home, thereby supplementing domestic emission reduction efforts.

The Kyoto Protocol has spawned international emissions trading worth 30 billion dollars in 2006, with the bulk of emissions trading taking place within the European Union's emissions trading scheme (EU ETS). The EU ETS will be linked to trading under the Kyoto Protocol next year. The Protocol's CDM is already enjoying rapid growth.

The UN Climate Change Secretariat presented the emissions data and projections about two weeks ahead the United Nations Climate Conference in Bali, at which negotiations on a post-2012 climate change deal are expected to be launched.

"A future, ambitious UN climate change regime needs to continue and expand the central elements of the Kyoto Protocol, whilst making use of other policy tools, such as carbon taxes and other effective policy packages," said Mr. de Boer.

"Only then can we ensure that the type of sweeping emission reductions that science tells us are needed are brought about and that the billions of dollars needed for measures to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change are generated," the UN's top climate change official added.

About the United Nations Climate Change Conference - Bali, 2007

This year's United Nations Climate Change Conference (3-14 December) will be presided over by Indonesian Environment Minister Rachmat Witoelar, with support from the UN's Climate Change Secretariat. More than 10,000 participants are expected to attend. The main goal of the conference is to launch negotiations on a new international climate change agreement. The conference will not deliver a fully negotiated and agreed climate deal but is aimed to set the necessary wheels in motion. Parties are expected to agree the key areas which the new agreement should cover, such as mitigation (including avoided deforestation), adaptation, technology and financing. They also are also expected to agree on 2009 as the year the negotiations will conclude.

About the UNFCCC

With 192 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership. It is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which has to date 176 member Parties. Under the Protocol, 36 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing transition to a market economy, have legally binding greenhouse gas (GHG) emission limitation and reduction commitments, while developing countries have nonbinding obligations to limit emissions. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize GHG concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.

About the CDM

Under the CDM, projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and contribute to sustainable development can earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits. Countries with a commitment under the Kyoto Protocol buy CERs to cover a portion of their emission reduction commitments under the Treaty. There are currently more than 840 registered CDM projects in 49 countries, and about another 1800 projects in the project registration pipeline. The CDM is expected to generate more than 2.5 billion CERs by the time the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012, each equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.


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