United Nations Proposes Stopgaps as Global
Talks Fail to Renew Kyoto Pact
Aug 25, 2010 - By Mathew Carr - bloomberg.net
United Nations climate group said it may be possible
to extend emission caps included in the Kyoto Protocol
for two years after they expire in 2012, preventing an
interruption in the supply of offset credits.
Extending the targets may help stop a “gap” in
the Clean Development Mechanism, the world’s second-biggest
carbon market, should nations fail to agree on a treaty
to replace or permanently extend the 1997 protocol, a committee
for developed nations said in a July 20 discussion paper
on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change website.
UN talks in Copenhagen last December failed as developing
nations called for richer countries to adopt tighter targets
on the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. India’s
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said last month that
nations are unlikely to agree on a global climate accord
at this year’s talks in Cancun, Mexico.
“Extending Kyoto for two more years seems unlikely
at this stage,” said David Lunsford, emissions trading
policy leader at the Geneva-based International Emissions
Trading Association, a lobby group. “Nations haven’t
even started to grapple with what targets might be feasible
for such an uncharted period,” he said today by phone
The treaty’s first restrictions on greenhouse gases
are for the five years starting in 2008. Under one interpretation
of climate laws, a failure to extend or replace Kyoto would
prevent validation and registration of CDM projects, the
“Emission reductions or removals that occurred after
the first commitment period could not be verified, and
corresponding Certified Emission Reductions could not be
issued,” according to the paper. Developed nations
can create emission offsets by investing in projects that
curb greenhouse gases in poorer nations. Those credits
can be used for compliance in the European Union program,
the world’s biggest emissions market.
Global climate talks are seeking a second set of emission
targets through 2017 or 2020, or potentially a program
of coordinated national policies for climate protection.
“Support for the Kyoto structure has waned over
recent years since adoption, making it unclear if an extension
would receive necessary support,” Lunsford said.
UN CERs for December fell 0.8 percent to 11.78 euros ($15.11)
on the European Climate Exchange in London at 10:14 a.m.
local time. They’ve jumped 7.3 percent in the year
to date, compared with 11.3 percent for EU permits.
The value of trading in UN offsets fell 38 percent last
year to $20.6 billion as prices dropped and the number
of credits being sold for time fell 48 percent, according
to World Bank figures published in May.
‘Carbon in Limbo’
“For markets to play a role in pricing, supply and
demand should form a key pillar of the next climate agreement,” Lunsford
said. “An unresolved Kyoto gap could put global supply
and demand for carbon in limbo for some time,” he
said. “Intermittent international policy would create
an unhealthy investment environment for global emission
The UN is also considering “provisional” amendments
to the protocol to fill the potential supply gap, as well
as “opt in” procedures for nations where they
wouldn’t be “bound by the amendment unless
it undertakes a ratification procedure,” according
to the UN discussion paper.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in
London at firstname.lastname@example.org