International agreements work The Montreal Protocol

In 1987, the United Nations Convention on Ozone met in Montreal, Canada, to negotiate a protocol to reduce the release of chemicals that were depleting the ozone layer — the layer of upper stratosphere that protects the Earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Many industries used these ozone-depleting chemicals as refrigerants and the propellant in aerosols.

The Montreal Protocol, a globally ratified agreement within the United Nations, acknowledged that industrialized countries had created most of the problem, that they had the best technology to solve the problem, and that poorer countries still needed access to chemicals so that they could economically develop.

The agreement required industrialized countries to cut production and use of ozone depleters by

50 percent, and less-developed countries could increase their use by 10 percent. Ultimately, 191 countries — almost every country in the world — agreed to get rid of ozone depleters altogether within a specified time frame. But the industrialized countries had to take the first step. The Kyoto Protocol takes a very similar, if not identical, approach.

The United Nations recently reported that ozone-depleting chemicals have been drastically reduced thanks to the Montreal Protocol. Recent studies show that the hole in the ozone layer has stopped growing and the layer is on its way to recovery. At the rate the hole is shrinking, the layer should be healed by 2050.

The countries need to achieve the emission cuts outlined in the Kyoto Protocol between 2008 and 2012. The Kyoto Protocol refers to this five-year time frame as the first commitment period. Countries are negotiating another set of targets for the second commitment period. These negotiations are mandated to have a new phase of Kyoto negotiated by late 2009.

The European Union (EU) negotiated a collective goal of an 8-percent reduction below 1990 levels. Within the EU, countries with better economic potential and the capacity to cut emissions received higher reduction targets — such as Germany, which committed to a 21-percent cut, and the United Kingdom, which committed to a 12.5-percent cut (and they've already surpassed that target).

Ideally, the largest cuts in greenhouse gas emissions were applied to the biggest emitters, but this was not always the case: political will and popular support by country played a major role in assigning targets.

Table 11-1 shows the commitments that selected countries made to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and how well those countries are meeting those targets.

Table 11-1

Countries' Kyoto Protocol Greenhouse Gas Level Targets

Country

GHG Level Change in Relation to 1990 Level

2012 Target

2005Achieved

Canada

-6%

+25%

Germany

-21%

-18%

France

Stay at 1990 level

-2%

Sweden

+4%

-7%

Japan

-6%

+7%

Norway

+1%

+9%

United Kingdom

-12.5%

-15%

Source: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Total aggregate greenhouse gas emissions of individual Annex I Parties, 1990-2005 (excluding land use and forestry).

Source: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Total aggregate greenhouse gas emissions of individual Annex I Parties, 1990-2005 (excluding land use and forestry).

0 0

Post a comment