UNFCCC and Kyoto protocol – COP-3 (KP)

UNFCCC and Kyoto protocol – COP-3 (KP)

UNFCCC and Kyoto protocol – COP-3 (KP)


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), informally known as the Earth summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Objective – to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level
that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
The framework set no binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual
countries and contains no enforcement mechanisms
In that sense, treaty is considered legally non-binding. Instead, the treaty provides for
updates (called “protocols”) that would set mandatory emission limits.
The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol, which has become much better than UNFCCC
UNFCCC is also the name of UN secretariat charged with supporting the operation of the

Year COP meet
1995 COP1, The Berlin Mandate
1996 COP2, Geneva, Switzerland
1997 COP3, The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change
1998 COP4, Buenos Aires, Argentina
1999 COP5, Bonn, Germany
2000 COP6, The Hague, Netherlands
2001 COP6, Bis, Bonn, Germany
2001 COP7, Marrakech, Morocco
2002 COP8, New Delhi, India
2003 COP9, Milan, Italy
2004 COP10, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2005 COP11/MOP1, Montreal, Canada
2006 COP12/MOP2, Nairobi, Kenya
2007 COP13/MOP3, Bali, Indonesia
2008 COP14/MOP4, Ponzan, Poland
2009 COP15/MOP5, Copenhagen, Denamrk
2010 COP16/MOP6, C21/ancun, Mexico
2011 COP17/MOP7, South Africa
2012 COP18/MOP8, Doha, Qatar
2013 COP19/MOP9, Warsaw, Poland
2014 COP20/MOP10, Lima, Peru
2015 COP21/MOP11, Paris, France
2016 COP22/MOP12, Marrakech, Morocco


Classification of Parties and their commitments

Parties to the UNFCCC are classified as –
Annex IThere are 43 Parties to the UNFCCC listed in Annex I of the Convention,
including the European Union. These Parties are
classified as industrialized (developed)
countries and “economies in transition”
(EITs). The 14 EITs are the former centrallyplanned (Soviet) economies of Russia and Eastern Europe.
Annex IIOf the Parties listed in Annex I of the Convention, 24 are also listed in Annex II
of the Convention, including the European Union. These Parties are made up of
members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Annex II Parties are required to provide financial and technical support to the EITs and
developing countries to assist them in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions (climate
change mitigation) and manage the impacts of climate change (climate change
Annex B – Parties listed in Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol are Annex I Parties with first- or
second-round Kyoto greenhouse gas emissions targets. The first-round targets apply
over the years 2008–2012. As part of the 2012 Doha climate change talks, an
amendment to Annex B was agreed upon containing with a list of Annex I Parties who
have second-round Kyoto targets, which apply from 2013–2020. The amendments have
not entered into force.
Least-developed countries (LDCs)49 Parties are LDCs, and are given special status
under the treaty in view of their limited capacity to adapt to the effects of climate
Non-Annex IParties to the UNFCCC not listed in Annex I of the Convention are mostly
low-income developing countries. Developing countries may volunteer to become
Annex I countries when they are sufficiently developed.

Kyoto protocol – COP-3 (KP)

By 1995, countries realized that emission reductions provisions in the Convention were
After 2 years this protocol was adopted.

Due to complex ratification process, it entered into force on 2005.
In short KP is what “operationalizes” the convention.
It commits industrialized countries to stabilize GHG emissions based on the principles of
the Convention.
Difference between protocol and convention – while the Convention encouraged
industrialized countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.


It sets binding emission reduction targets for 37 industrialized countries and the
European community in its first commitment period.
Q.) Why KP binds only developed countries ?

  • because it recognizes that they are largely responsible for the current high levels
    of GHG emissions in the atmosphere, which are the result of more than 150
    years of industrial activity.

CBDR (common but differentiated responsibility) -heavier burden on developed nations.
Overall, these targets add up to an average 5% emissions reduction compared to 1990
levels over the five-year period 2008 to 2012.

Architecture of KP

Beating heart of KP is made up of –
  • Reporting and verification procedures.
  • Flexible market-based mechanisms
  • A compliance system
2 things made KP tick
  • 1. Emissions Reduction Commitments
  • 2. Flexible Market Mechanisms

Emissions Reduction Commitments

Binding emissions reduction.
Space to pollute was limited
CO2 became new commodity.

Flexible Market Mechanisms

Joint Implementation (JI)
The Clean Development Mechanism(CDM)
Emission Trading
Objective of above mechanisms – to facilitate, promote and enforce compliance with the
commitments under the Protocol.

Joint implementation

It offers Parties a flexible and cost-efficient means of fulfilling a part of their Kyoto
commitments, while the host Party benefits from foreign investment and technology

Clean Development mechanism

It provides for emissions reduction projects which generate Certified Emission
Reduction units (CERs) which may be traded in emissions trading schemes.
E.g. A CDM project activity might involve a rural electrification project using solar panels
or the installation of more energy efficient boilers. The mechanism stimulates
sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries
some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction or limitation targets.

Carbon Trading

Carbon trading is the process of buying and selling permits
and credits to emit carbon dioxide. It has been a central pillar of
the EU’s efforts to slow climate change. The world’s biggest
carbon trading system is the European Union Emissions Trading
System (EU ETS).
2 types of carbon trading – emission trading and offset

Emission Trading

Also known as carbon credit.
A permit which allows a country or organization to produce a certain amount of carbon
emissions and which can be traded if the full allowance is not used.

Offset Trading/ Carbon Project/ ‘baseline-and credit’ trading

Another variant of carbon credit.
It is to be earned by a country by investing some amount of money in such projects,
known as carbon projects, which will emit lesser amount of greenhouse gas in the
For example, suppose a thermal plant of 800 megawatt capacity emit 400 carbonequivalent in the atmosphere. Now a country builds up a 800 megawatt wind energy
plant which does not generate any amount of emission as an alternative of the thermal
plant. Then by investing in this project the country will earn 400 carbon-equivalent.

Regarding “carbon credits”, which one of the following statements is not correct?
(a) The carbon credit system was ratified in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol.
(b) Carbon credits are awarded to countries or groups that have reduced greenhouse gases
below their emission quota.
{c} The goal of the carbon credit system is to limit the increase of carbon dioxide emission.

(d) Carbon credits are traded at a price fixed from time to time of the United Nation
Environment Programme.
Prelims 2011

Benefits of Flexible market mechanism

Stimulating green investment in developing countries.
Private sector to cut and hold steady GHG emissions at a safe level.
To skip older, dirtier technology for newer, cleaner infrastructure and systems, with
obvious longer-term benefits.
Kyoto Protocol’s compliance mechanism –

  • o Strengthen the Protocol’s environmental integrity.
    o Support the carbon market’s credibility
    o Ensure transparency of accounting by Parties.

Non-Compliance of Kyoto And Penalties

If a country does not meet the requirements for measurements and reporting – it looses
the privilege of gaining credit through JI projects.
If a country goes above its emissions cap, and does not try to make up the difference
through any of the mechanisms available, then said country must make up the
difference plus an additional 30% during the next period.
The country could also be banned from participating ‘cap and trade’ program.

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