Final Kyoto analysis shows 100% compliance

All 36 countries that committed to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change [1] complied with their emission targets, according to a  scientific study released today . In addition, the Kyoto process and climate-related policies, represented a low cost for the countries involved - up to 0.1% of GDP for the European Union and an even lower fraction of Japan’s GDP. This is around one quarter to one tenth of what experts had estimated after the agreement was reached in 1997, for delivering the targets set 15 years ahead. The US never ratified the Treaty and Canada withdrew, but all the rest continued and Kyoto came into force in 2005.

The results, reported in the Climate Policy journal [2], are the first published results to use the final data for national GHG emissions and exchanges in carbon units which only became available at the end of 2015. They show that overall, the countries who signed up to the Kyoto Protocol surpassed their commitment by 2.4 GtCO2e yr -1 (giga-tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year).

“There is often skepticism about the importance of international law, and many critics claim that the Kyoto Protocol failed. The fact that countries have fully complied is highly significant, and it helps to raise expectations for full adherence to the Paris Agreement,” said Prof. Michael Grubb, Editor-in-Chief of the  Climate Policy  journal and co-founder of research network Climate Strategies [3].

The researchers found that most of these countries reduced their GHG emissions to the levels required by the Kyoto Protocol, with only nine (Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain and Switzerland) emitting higher levels. The nine countries only just overshot their targets – in total by around 1% of the average annual emissions capped under Kyoto – and were able to comply with the Protocol using the “flexibility” mechanisms [4]. The researchers also found that overall compliance would have also been achieved even without the so-called ‘hot-air,’ (windfall emission reductions from Eastern Bloc countries).  [5]

NOTES FOR EDITORS

[1] The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, established targets for GHG emission reductions for 38 countries, and allowed for ‘carbon trading’, whereby countries exceeding their GHG emissions could off-set this against other countries who were below their allocated GHG emission level. As drafted, the Protocol would have required a 5% reduction in GHG emissions by the countries responsible for 39% of global GHG emissions. However the United States refused to ratify the agreement and Canada withdrew from the Protocol in 2011. The targets for the west European (EU-15) countries and Japan were 8% and 6% reductions from 1990 levels overall.

[2] The journal is published by the Taylor & Francis Group, who partner with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine. From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.  
For further information please contact: Andy Hall, Marketing Manager at:  andy.hall@tandf.co.uk , Tel: +44 20 70176000

[3] Climate Strategies is a not-for-profit organization working with an international network of senior climate change policy experts to bridge the gap between research and policy. It provides world-class, independent policy and economic research input to national, European and international climate policy. More information here:  http://climatestrategies.org ; Twitter:  @climatestrat . Contact: Germana Canzi, Head of Programme & Marketing, Tel: +44 7875065918. Email:  germana.canzi@climatestrategies.org

[4] These include emissions trading and other tools defined in the Kyoto Protocol intended to lower the overall costs of achieving its emissions by achieving emission reductions cost-effectively in other countries. This is based on the principle that while the cost of limiting emissions varies considerably from region to region, the benefit for the atmosphere is the same wherever the action is taken.

[5] This is the term given to the large drop in emissions from the Eastern Bloc countries resulting from the contraction of their economies following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

[6] Please reference the article as “Compliance of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol in the first commitment period”, by Igor Shishlov, Romain Morel and Valentin Bellassen, Climate Policy , 2016, published by Taylor & Francis Group.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14693062.2016.1164658
Please reference the editorial as “Full legal compliance with The Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period – some lessons”, by Michael Grubb, Climate Policy , 2016, published by Taylor & Francis Group.
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14693062.2016.1194005

For more information please contact:

Alan Crompton

Biological, Earth and Environmental Science Journals , Taylor & Francis
Contact email:  alan.crompton@tandf.co.uk

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world’s leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine. From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Johannesburg, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

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The results show that the countries who signed up to the Kyoto Protocol surpassed their commitment by 2.4 GtCO2e yr -1 (giga-tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year).
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“There is often skepticism about the importance of international law, and many critics claim that the Kyoto Protocol failed. The fact that countries have fully complied is highly significant, and it helps to raise expectations for full adherence to the Paris Agreement.”
Prof. Michael Grubb, Editor-in-Chief of the Climate Policy journal and co-founder of research network Climate Strategies