The industrialized countries that have ratified the 1997 Kyoto Protocol are tracking to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of a combined 3.5% below 1990 levels during the first commitment period (2008–2012), according to the acting head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Richard Kinley.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, 34 industrialized countries and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. A total of 160 Parties to the Protocol have now ratified the treaty, which entered into force on 16 February 2005.
With the help of additional measures and the use of Kyoto market-based mechanisms, they will as a group be able to reach their agreed Kyoto reduction targets.—Richard Kinley
In addition to the direct reduction of emissions, the Kyoto Protocol allows countries to meet their emission targets through the Kyoto mechanisms. For example, the clean development mechanism allows industrialized countries to generate emission credits or allowances through investment in emission reductions projects in developing countries.
The currently known project potential of the clean development mechanism is estimated to generate over 700 million tonnes of emission reductions by the end of 2012, the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. This is almost as much as the annual greenhouse gas emissions of Canada.—Christine Zumkeller, Coordinator of the Project-based Mechanisms Program
According to reports by industrialized countries submitted to the UNFCCC secretariat at the beginning of 2006, many countries have already made progress in putting in place policies and enacting relevant legislative, regulatory and institutional frameworks for achieving their Kyoto commitments.
Setting these actions in motion will be the success of Kyoto, but more is needed. The implementation of the Protocol will help to drive the technology innovation needed to further bring down emissions.—Richard Kinley
The most recent report by the US Department of Energy shows that US emissions of greenhouse gases have increased by 15.8% over 1990 levels. (Earlier post.)