COP 26 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ...

A new UN
Climate Change assessment shows that greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions
of 18% compared to 1990 levels under the Kyoto Protocol’s second phase seem fully achievable and
likely to be exceeded.

The Protocol’s second phase called the second
commitment period was established by means of the Doha Amendment in
2012 and runs from 2013 – 2020. The Amendment strengthened quantified emission
limitation or reduction commitments for developed countries and set a goal of
reducing GHG emissions by 18% compared to 1990 levels.

The assessment
of the latest information received from Parties with commitments under the Doha
Amendment (Annex B Parties), based on data for the period 1990-2018, shows that
total aggregate GHG emissions in 2018 were 25.3% lower than in 1990.

Moreover, if the current annual average emissions of Annex
B Parties (amounting to 5,696 Mt CO2eqin the period
2013–2018) remain at this level for 2019 and 2020, the emission reduction the target of 18% could be further exceeded.

Assigned amount vs cumulative emissions

“While the
results of this assessment are very encouraging, they only apply to a group of
some 37 countries that agreed to emission reduction targets under the Doha
Amendment,” said Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate
Change. “Globally however, emissions have been rising, which clarifies the
urgent need for greater ambition,” she added.

This year is critical with respect to climate change
ambition as 2020 is the year in which Parties will submit their new or updated
Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and
embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the
impacts of climate change. Each NDC reflects the country’s ambition,
taking into account its domestic circumstances and capabilities.

“The submission
of new or updated NDCs represents an important opportunity for all countries to
raise their ambition and to put the entire world onto reduced emissions
pathway,” said Ms Espinosa.

“The current global
emissions pathway would likely result in an increase in global average
temperatures of 3C or more,” she explained. “This would be significantly higher
than the temperature limits of less than 2C and as close to 1.5C as possible as
contained in the Paris Agreement – hence the urgent need for greater

The assessment
under the Doha Amendment revealed that the GHG reductions have generally been
achieved through national mitigation actions.

“This shows the potential of consistently implementing climate change policies and actions at
the national level. Through the NDC process, countries have the opportunity to
further, advance climate policies and actions, and to ratchet them up over time”
Ms Espinosa underlined.   

The new figures
present themselves without the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol having
officially entered into force and the commitments thus having become legally
binding. To date, 138 of the needed 144 instruments of acceptance to enter the
amendment into force has been received.

Ms Espinosa
said: “The United Nations is actively engaging with countries to encourage
governments to ratify the Doha Amendment as soon as possible. The amendment’s
entry into force would be a valuable signal of a unified, multilateral
commitment to the fight against climate change”.

The Kyoto
Protocol, which took effect in 2005, sets binding emission reduction targets
for developed countries. Its first commitment period ran from 2008-2012 and set
an average reduction target of 5% compared to 1990 levels.

During this
time, the emissions of the 37 developed countries that had reduction targets
declined by more than 22% compared to 1990, far exceeding the initial target of
5% compared to 1990.

The Protocol thus clearly plays a key part in reaching
the objective of the UN Climate Change Convention, namely to stabilize
greenhouse gas concentrations and reduce the consequences of climate change

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