Press releases

Wednesday 16 Feb 2005

The Kyoto Protocol – a new era starts today

After more than 10 years of negotiations, the Kyoto Protocol finally becomes legally binding for the countries that have ratified it.

After more than 10 years of negotiations, the Kyoto Protocol finally becomes legally binding for the countries that have ratified it.

The overall goal in the Protocol is a 5,2 % reduction of greenhouse gas emissions below the 1990 level by Annex 1 countries by 2010. As of 2 February 2005, 141 states and regional economic integration organizations had ratified, acceded to, approved, or accepted the Protocol. Only USA, Australia, Monaco and Croatia have not ratified it among the countries listed as the Annex 1 countries in United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Target reached in 2002, but the emissions are increasing again
By the end of 2005, countries that are obliged to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions shall report on their progress towards reaching the emission targets set in the Protocol.

Even if the total emissions from Annex 1 countries decreased by 6,4 % between 1990 and 2002, only a few of these countries can report on a real progress in reaching their emission targets. The decrease is mainly caused by a decrease in emissions, particularly by the Eastern European states and Russia due to economic downturn. The decrease in these countries have been 40 %, while the other Annex 1 countries have increased their emissions by 8,4 %.

Emission projections show an increase in the total emissions from Annex 1 countries by 10,2 % between 1990-2010.

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More countries must put more efforts in reducing their emissions
In 2002, 16 countries, mostly in Eastern Europe and Russia, had reached their targets. But some western European countries like UK, Sweden and Iceland had also reached their targets.

According to the projections each country has sent to the UNFCCC Secretariat, 14 countries will reach their targets in 2010. Some of the countries that had reached their targets in 2002 will increase their emissions between 2002-2010, while others like Germany will decrease and reach their target in 2010. The number of countries reaching their targets is pretty stable. Projection data for some of the countries that reached their targets in 2002 are not available.

Between 2002 and 2010 the number of countries that must reduce their emissions by more than 20% to reach their target is estimated to increase from 3 to 10

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Global emissions to increase by 60%
According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the emissions from Annex 1 OECD will be 30% above the emission target in 2010, while emissions from countries with economies in transition will be 25 % below their target.

IEA predicts that CO2 emissions will increase by 20% in the OECD Europe region between 2002 and 2030. The global emissions of CO2 will increase by 60% during the same period.

The growth in the oil consumption accounts for the global increase in emissions. In Europe, however, the increased use of natural gas accounts for the increase.

Developing countries will pass developed countries
Historically, developed countries have caused the enhanced greenhouse effect. But between 2020 and 2030, the total emissions from developing countries are expected to exceed the emissions from the developed world. There will still be a huge difference in the per capita emissions.

Read more:
GRID-Arendal’s special section on Climate Change:
International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):
Climatewire (news portal, updated daily):


Wednesday 16 Feb 2005
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