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Global Action on Climate Change

Kyoto and all that...

M Grantham

on 27 April 2010

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Transcript of Global Action on Climate Change

Global Action on
Climate Change Learning Outcomes

Some of you will be able to evaluate global responses to climate change
Most of you will be able to explain how global responses to climate change work
All of you will be able to describe global responses to climate change 1987: Montreal Protocol

Set limits on CFC emissions, which damage ozone layer.

CFC levels fell as MEDCs phased them out.

Funds provided to help LEDCs switch to less damaging alternatives 1992: Rio Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro)

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) agreed.
Aim to 'achieve stabilisation of GHG concentrations in atmosphere at a low enough level to prevent dangerous interference with the climate system'. Issues with Kyoto:

For treaty to work, 55 countries need to ratify (agree/sign), including enough countries to account for 55% of global CO2 emissions in 1990. This was only achieved in 2005 when Russia signed.
Emissions reduction targets are country specific. The EU target is 8%, the USA 6%, Iceland 10% and Russia 0%.
Complex systems were introduced allowing 'trading' of carbon credits
Carbon sinks, such as planting forests, were allowed to 'offset' emissions. This allows polluters to pollute more!!
Protocol undermined in 2001, the USA withdrew, stating cost of meeting targets was too high and would damage US economy. Kyoto has not been hugely successful in reducing GHG emissions.

Reductions likely to be 0.5% by 2012.

Some countries will do better, such as UK and Sweden, but others like Germany, spain and Japan, are currently off target.

China's emissions have increased by 50% since 1990.

As USSR broke up in 1990s, emissions up 37% as new economies dealt with these changes. In December 2007, UN climate-change convention in Indonesia produced 'Bali roadmap', which started a 2-year process of negotiations on a new set of emissions targets. Even governments like USA have now recognised that climate change is a threat. Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF)

Established in 2001, to finance projects relating to adaptation; technology transfer and capacity building; energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management; and economic diversification.

Projects must focus on long-term planned response strategies, policies and measures. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

This allows MEDCs with GHG reduction commitment to invest in ventures to reduce emissions in LEDCs as an alternative to more expensive emission reductions in their own countries. EU countries met to set own targets to make 8% reduction by 2012.

E.g. Luxembourg agreed 28% cut so Greece could increase theirs by 25%. Offsetting =

the ability to cover increases in CO2 emissions by sponsoring programmes that reduce emissions in other communities or nations. UK Policies to reduce CO2:

Climate Change Levy (carbon tax) on businesses
development of low carbon emissions technology
increase in renewables to 10% by 2010.
energy efficiency in homes and public sector
integrated transport policy to cut congestion
'are you doing your bit' advertising campaign
Green Taxes - higher petrol duty, higher car tax for gas-guzzlers, congestion charging, higher levies on air travel Is Kyoto succeeding?

Some countries delayed signing up, e.g. Russia in 2004.
Some countries never signed up, e.g. Australia (world's 2nd biggest per capita polluter)
USA, which produces 25% of global emissions, signed up but then withdrew in 2001.
Industrialised countries (e.g. UK) did cut emissions by 3% below their 1990 levels by 2000. However, UN says off target and will emit 10% above 1990 levels by 2010.
Many LEDCs signed up but did not have to commit to actual figures - they report annual emissions and develop programmes to cut emissions.
EU will not meet its target of 8%. UK, France and Sweden met theirs but Spain, Portugal and Ireland have made no progress.
Are Kyoto targets too low? Some scientists argue 5% cut should be a 60% cut! Using a named example, explain why global agreements on coping with climate change are complex. [15 marks]
Full transcript