Monday, January 11, 2010

How far is the Kyoto Protocol?

While the debate on future emission targets dominates the international political scene, it might be interesting to see the current emission trends of the UNFCCC Annex I Parties.
On the UNFCCC web site are available the greenhouse gas emissions inventories for 1990 to 2007, that Parties included in Annex I are required to submit each year.
In general these data show that Annex I GHG emissions decreased by 3.9 % from 1990 to 2007. However, if we consider the two groups composing Annex I separately, GHG emissions of countries with Economies in transitions (Annex I EIT) decreased significantly, while the other countries increased their emissions by 11.2 % (See the Graph below).

In particular, considering individual emissions of the major emitter economies included in Annex I, the United States and Japan increased their emissions by 16.8 % and 8.2 % respectively, while Russia and the EU-15 decreased their trends by 33.9 % and 4.3 %
Considering the overall countries, Ukraine reached the best reduction with a percentage of 52.9.

Moving from these data, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) provided an interesting analysis, of historic and projected trends of GHG emissions in Europe comparing them with the Kyoto targets.
According to them, emissions in the European Union are decreasing and are expected to continue to do so. Therefore, the EU-15 Member States are on track to meet the overall 8 % reduction pledged in the Kyoto Protocol: France, Germany, Greece, Sweden and the United Kingdom have already achieved average GHG emission levels below their Kyoto target, while EU-12 countries, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia will meet or even exceed their targets. Only Austria does not expect to reach its burden sharing target under current arrangements.
The EU-15 could over-achieve its Kyoto target if all existing and planned additional measures are fully implemented in a timely manner and if Member States use Kyoto mechanisms and enhance carbon sinks as planned. This represents a 5.1 % overachievement beyond the 8 % Kyoto target.
The report also affirms that the EU-27 is making good progress towards its 2020 emission reduction target of – 20 %.

For more information see:
UNFCCC (2009) "National greenhouse gas inventory data for the period 1990 - 2007"
EEA (2009) “Greenhouse gas emission trends and projections in Europe 2009 - Tracking progress towards Kyoto targets”.

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