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. Kyoto Protocol Countries Launch New Move On Greenhouse Gases

The new incentives apply not to developing countries but to other developed countries, with an eye particularly on the industrialised economies of central and eastern Europe, where energy inefficiency and CO2 pollution are chronic problems. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Oct 26, 2006
Countries that have ratified the UN's Kyoto Protocol launched a new incentive on Thursday to help tackle greenhouse gas emissions by former Soviet bloc economies. The final decisions completing the Joint Implementation (JI) initiative were made in Bonn by a supervisory committee under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kyoto's parent treaty.

"JI will generate real projects which will help green the economies of central and eastern Europe," UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said, according to a press release received here.

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on February 16 2005 after a long and troubled gestation.

It requires industrialised countries that have ratified it -- Australia and the United States being the only holdouts -- to trim carbon pollution that traps the Sun's heat and thus helps warm Earth's surface.

The protocol provides for three mechanisms which are designed to provide incentives for reaching this target, which has a deadline of 2012.

One is a market in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal greenhouse gas. Corporations that are big polluters are required to meet emissions levels or else pay a financial penalty. Those that reduce their pollution and have some quota to spare can sell it to others which are above their quota.

The other two mechanisms are JI and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Under the CDM, which like the CO2 market was launched last year, developed countries are awarded "carbon credits" for projects in developing countries that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These credits can then be used or traded to help meet the developed country's emissions goal.

The JI is smaller in scale than the CDM but will operate in a similar vein.

It applies not to developing countries but to other developed countries, with an eye particularly on the industrialised economies of central and eastern Europe, where energy inefficiency and CO2 pollution are chronic problems.

"With its launch, we can expect emission reductions of several hundred million tonnes of CO2 by the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol," de Boer said.

The first JI projects, ranging from wind farms to forestry projects, are expected to be begin scrutiny by the mechanism's oversight panel in the coming weeks.

The UNFCCC, which is headquartered in the former West German capital, meets in Nairobi from November 6-17 for talks on fine-tuning the protocol's highly complex machinery, on providing funds and technical help for poor countries facing climate change and on the future of Kyoto beyond 2012.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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