WINDHOEK: As the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar slated for November this year draws nearer, countries have expressed concern that the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol is fading away.
The Alliance of Small Island States, the Least Developed Countries, and the Africa Group in a statement released on Wednesday and published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), urged countries to fulfill their responsibility to address the climate change crisis and outlined some key expectations during recent talks in Bangkok, and the upcoming talks in Doha.
A week of informal climate talks in Bangkok ended on Wednesday, which set a firmer base for decisions that will be made at the Doha conference.
“We are concerned that the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only international treaty that legally binds developed countries to lower emissions, and thus our lone assurance that action will be taken, is eroding before our eyes. This will require action in Doha that prioritises reducing emissions, which is in line with the latest scientific recommendations,” it stressed.
These recommendations amongst others include that those that have not yet submitted Quantified Emission Limitation Reduction Objectives (QELROs) must raise the ambition of their economy-wide emission reduction commitments and submit legally binding, single number QELROS without conditions for inclusion in an amended Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol.
Other recommendations include that the second commitment period should be for a length of five years to avoid locking in insufficient ambition; that the use of surplus units from the first commitment period must be dramatically curbed in the second commitment period to protect the environmental integrity of the second commitment period; and that parties should also affirm that the compliance system of the Kyoto Protocol applies to the second commitment period.
“If hard decisions to cut emissions are not made by all developed countries, developing countries will be forced to confront issues of adaptation on a previously unimaginable scale,” the countries warned.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in a media statement issued on Wednesday said the week of informal climate talks in Bangkok ended with concrete progress on key issues across all three negotiating groups, setting a firmer base for decisions that will be made at the conference in Doha.
“The investment in Bangkok has paid off. Government negotiators have pushed forward key issues further than many had expected and raised the prospects for a next successful step in Doha,” said UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.
She was quoted as saying that there are still some tough political decisions ahead, but the meeting ended with a positive momentum and a greater sense of convergence that will stimulate higher-level political discussions ahead of Doha.
The meeting identified points where additional decisions might be needed in Doha in order for the conference to close successfully.
This includes finance to support developing countries’ efforts to deal with climate change.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the UNFCCC. It sets binding targets 37 industrialised countries and the European community for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.