Principles of the Kyoto Protocol

No. 2, June 2011

Contents: Necessary to go for 50 per cent by 2020 (editorial), The remaining carbon budget, High economic benefits of new NEC directive, The role of forests in the Climate Convention, 100 percent renewable energy globally by 2050, Strict sulphur standards no threat to shipping.

Contents: Negotiating new air pollutant ceilings. Overhaul of EU air quality policy announced. Potential for cuts in the non road sector. EU voting on new climate target for 2020. IPCC: Huge potential for renewable energy. Ship pollution causes 50,000 deaths per year. Call for new approach to nitrogen management.

Implementing the stricter ship fuel sulphur standard of 0.1 per cent in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, is estimated to save up to 16,000 lives per year in the EU in 2020.

Contents: How to avoid critical levels of climate change. GHGs must peak by 2015. MEPS call for binding energy efficiency target. New analysis of NECs. EU consults on marine fuels. Feature: coal in Europe. Intercontinental transport of air pollutants

Contents: High costs of delaying NEC directive revision (editorial). Big benefits in ship fuel action. Renewables industry –we can power the EU! 1.5° tough, but doable. New emission ceilings for 2020 underway. Agreement on Industrial Emissions.

Contents: Shipping must pay its bill (editorial). Particles killing half a million. Roadmap for 2050 offers low-carbon Europe for free. Ozone, plants and climate - views and news. The poor legacy of Copenhagen. NOx sources in the UK: the story behind the figures. Go slower to go greener

Contents: The right to clean air (Editorial) Cutting NOx emissions - the Norwegian way. Renewables can power the world. Success and failures in pollution abatement. Billion dollar benefits from new air standards. Supergrid paves the way for windpower. GHG reductions will bring health benefits.

Contents: Copenhagen checklist (editorial). The world at +4oC. Dirty dozen - the most polluting power plants. Countries lagging behind – NEC directive follow-up. Boreal forests in peril. Tar sand – destructive developments. Warming speeds up. Make ships pay for their emissions.

Contents: Bring them in (editorial). Most rich Kyoto countries off track. Island states call for action. Air quality exemptions questioned. Cleaner ship fuels may save 45,000 lives. Shipping climate policy drifting. Industrial emissions legislation watered down. Still high ozone levels. Pollution treaty to be revised.
Factsheet: High noon for +2ºC.

Contents: Europe needs Emission Control Areas (editorial). Cleaner ship fuels to save lives. Ships pollute half as much as world's cars. Cut CO2 emissions from ships. GHG emissions increasing. Particles - small but dangerous. New industrial emissions directive under way. Dirty thirty list. Air quality compliance postponed. CO2 emissions from cars.

Contents: Enforcement is the key (Editorial). 16 states exceed emisson limits. Petrol vapour recovery to become mandatory. Strong – and weak, The EU climate package. One per cent will do. Ecosystems under threat. The top-ten list of European polluters. Ocean acidification – the other CO2 problem. Stricter EU standards.

Content: Still possible to stay below 2°C, Industrial air pollution cost up to €169 billion, Moving towards stricter ship sulphur standards, Countdown for Energy Efficiency Directive, Gothenburg Protocol soon to be agreed, Twelve countries exceed NEC directive limits, Climate hotspots

No. 2, June 2012

Content: New Gothenburg Protocol adopted, New Danish energy agreement, Welcome to the golden age of fracking, Biggest environmental cause of mortality, The arrival of a new EU sulphur law, Ozone levels still much too high, Pollution from traffic kills 5000 a year in UK

Contents: Management or protection of boreal forest?. Emission source shift, from land to sea. Smarter structure for energy taxation. Finding ambition levels for a revised protocol. Coal-fired plants hinder German climate targtes. Sulphur emissions from shipping to be slashed. California rules give great benefits.

Content: Progress in EU air policy review, China: New standards for power plants, Slow steaming saves money and the climate, Climate policy for the agricultural sector, Opinion: Ten one-liners for air policy, F-gases still a problem, New CO2 standards for cars and vans

Content: The costs of  climate change, Is air quality in Europe getting any better?, Great potential for  changing behaviour, EU greenhouse gases fell by 2.5% in 2011, The Climate Bonus, Cleaner ship fuels will dominate in 2020, Arctic shipping threatens environment

Content: Small chimneys – big emissions, Running out of time – the LCPD bites at last, Progress too slow in transport sector, Revising EU air pollution policy, Nitrogen overload still harms ecosystems, Scope for reducing ammonia emissions, Tailwind for wind

Content: Finding the ambition level for NEC, significant cuts in carbon within reach in the Nordic-Baltic region, call for international nitrogen framework, stricter US standards for road vehicles proposed, shipping should cut GHGs and air pollutants, stricter rules for machinery on the way, CCS sidelined by tenuous financing

Content: Warming can be limited to 1.5°C,  Shale gas has lost lustre, Agreement on equity issues essential, Shipping air pollution costs €60 billion per year, US: air pollution causes 210,000 deaths a year, High potential to cut air pollution from LCPs, More food less climate change

Content: Proposal not enough to meet ship CO2 target, Global roadmap for less-polluting vehicles, Livestock behind 7.1 gigatonne GHGs, Global warming unequivocal, Anti-coal movement in Europe is growing and Energy, climate and air quality policy synergies

Content: A new EU clean air strategy up to 2030, Banking on coal, Ships should use advanced monitoring, CCS in Norway, Oceans acidify at unprecedented rate, Stricter standards for non-EU power plants, EU climate and energy targets for 2030

Content: 150 ways to cut GHG emissions, IMO weakens NOx rules for ships, A changing climate creates pervasive risks, Hidden costs make coal expensive, Diet shifts could reduce nitrogen pollution, SCR can cut ship NOx emissions and Europe’s biggest polluters

Content: Air pollution still harms ecosystems, The fair share of climate responsability, Proposal for coal phase-out in Germany, UK brought to court on bad air qualty, Sustainable food choices, New figures on global ship emissions, Carbon dioxide concentration surges

Content: NRMM proposal low in ambition late in timing, Wind energy – so much potential, Many loopholes in testing system, IPCC : delaying action implies higher costs, Biogas from manure, Air quality targets much cheaper than expected, Leave fossil gas in the ground

Content: Industrial air pollution cost €189 billion/year, Norwegian CCS ambitions might move to the EU, Enforcement of ship sulphur standards, Launch of Energy Union – mixed messages, East German lignite at a crossroads, Achieving NEC targets will cost less

Content: Cities’ air quality efforts ranked, France: 100% renewables as cheap as 50% nuclear, Danish farming futures, Ship scrubbers questioned, New draft EU coal limits weaker than in China, Sweden without gas

Content: Environment MEPs want stricter air pollutant caps, Exposing the role of coal in Europe - launch of European Coal Map, Pledges for the 2015 UN climate agreement, 140 000 life-years lost each year in London, Film: 1,5 stay alive

Content: The costs of melting Permafrost, Tipping points - no safe limit, Diesel cars will continue to exceed emission limits, Cut agricultural ammonia emissions, Legally binding phase-out law for coal.

A 1.5 target is needed to save the Baltic Sea, CCS in Norway, Member states weaken NEC targets, EU without an energy strategy to fulfil Paris agreement, Nitrogen on the table, Harmful air pollution, The polluter-pays principle or the polluterprofits principle?

Ecosystems more sensitive than previously thought

Three-quarters of EU ecosystems are currently exposed to more nitrogen deposition than they can cope with and nearly one-tenth is receiving too much acid fallout.

Content: Paris changes everything, Paths to a sustainable agricultural system, Coal kills across borders, A phase-out plan for coal in Europe, New watered-down EU air pollution targets, Many ways to cut ship NOx emissions, OECD warns of rising
costs of air pollution



Content: IMO confirrms 2020 date, End derogations for polluting coal plants, A Europe powered only with renewable energy, Climate target for agriculture, Air pollution costs trillions, Germany's slow decarbonisation, Unique oppurtunity for Ukraine

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012. The major distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to stabilise GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.

Recognising that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the "Marrakesh Accords."

Under the Treaty, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures. However, the Kyoto Protocol offers them an additional means of meeting their targets by way of three market-based mechanisms.

Under the Protocol, countries'actual emissions have to be monitored and precise records have to be kept of the trades carried out.

Registry systems track and record transactions by Parties under the mechanisms. The UN Climate Change Secretariat, based in Bonn, Germany, keeps an international transaction log to verify that transactions are consistent with the rules of the Protocol.

Reporting is done by Parties by way of submitting annual emission inventories and national reports under the Protocol at regular intervals.

A compliance system ensures that Parties are meeting their commitments and helps them to meet their commitments if they have problems doing so.

The Kyoto Protocol, like the Convention, is also designed to assist countries in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change. It facilitates the development and deployment of techniques that can help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.

The Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Fund is financed mainly through a share of proceeds from CDM project activities.

The targets cover emissions of the six main greenhouse gases, namely:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2);
  • Methane (CH4);
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O);
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and
  • Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

The maximum amount of emissions (measured as the equivalent in carbon dioxide) that a Party may emit over the commitment period in order to comply with its emissions target is known as a Party's assigned amount. The individual targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B.

Table: Countries included in Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol and their emissions targets

* The 15 States that were EU members in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, agreed that the 8% target that will be redistributed among themselves, taking advantage of a scheme under the Protocol known as a "bubble", whereby countries have different individual targets, but which combined make an overall target for that group of countries. The EU has already reached agreement on how its targets will be redistributed.
** Some Economies in Transition have a baseline other than 1990.
*** The US has indicated its intention not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.
Note: Although they are listed in the Convention's Annex I, Belarus and Turkey are not included in the Protocol's Annex B as they were not Parties to the Convention when the Protocol was adopted. Upon entry into force, Kazakhstan, which has declared that it wishes to be bound by the commitments of Annex I Parties under the Convention, will become an Annex I Party under the Protocol. As it had not made this declaration when the Protocol was adopted, Kazakhstan does not have an emissions target listed for it in Annex B.

The Protocol mirrors the Convention in recognising the specific needs and concerns of developing countries, especially the most vulnerable among them. Annex I Parties must thus provide information on how they are striving to meet their emissions targets while minimising adverse impacts on developing countries.

An Adaptation Fund was established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Fund is to be financed with a share of proceeds from clean development mechanism (CDM) project activities and receive funds from other sources.


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