Kyoto 2 still short more than 100 national ratifications

Published 10:45 on June 26, 2015  /  Last updated at 11:08 on November 24, 2015  / Stian Reklev /  Asia Pacific, Climate Talks, International, Other APAC

Vietnam ratified the Kyoto Protocol’s Doha Amendment this week, but more than 100 nations must still follow suit before the treaty's second commitment period enters into force.

Vietnam ratified the Kyoto Protocol’s Doha Amendment this week, but more than 100 nations must still follow suit before the UN climate treaty’s second commitment period enters into force.

Formal adoption of the legally-binding agreement has become a largely symbolic issue of trust between the EU and its poorer nation allies as governments work on a wider climate pact this year.

Vietnam submitted its instrument of acceptance to the UN on June 22, becoming the 33rd nation to do so. But 144 national ratifications are needed for the so-called KP2 pact to officially commence, leaving the UN 111 short.

More than 190 nations agreed in Doha in late 2012 to initiate a second Kyoto commitment period, running from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2020, and putting legalling binding emission obligations on industrialised nations.

However, the second period regulates only around 14% emissions than the first period as Canada, Japan and New Zealand all pulled out, leaving European nations and Australia.

And with governments turning their attention to making preparations to strike a post-2020 deal to bind all emitters at this year’s UN summit in Paris, or to dealing with other, more pressing matters, the rate of national ratification has been slow.

To address this, the UNFCCC last August launched a drive to encourage Kyoto parties to ratify KP2, but only 22 have done so since.

“Governments that committed themselves to honour legally binding limits on their emissions have already taken measures to ensure that they will meet these obligations,” Christiana Figueres, the UNFCCC executive secretary, said.

“For this international legal framework to enter into force, governments need to complete their ratification process as soon as possible.This will provide an important positive political signal of the ambition of nations to step up crucial climate action.”

Poland last year threatened to block the EU’s ratification of KP2 as part of negotiations over the bloc’s 2030 energy and climate package, delaying the process.

The EU Council of ministers approved the meausure in January, with the full European Parliament due to vote the issue through next month. National EU governments are required to ratify individually.

By Stian Reklev-