|Percentage change in greenhouse emissions from industrialized countries, 1990-2004. Click to enlarge.|
The secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) today released new data showing an upward trend in greenhouse gas emissions of industrialized countries (Annex I parties to the UNFCCC) in the period 2000–2004.
Overall, according to the report, emissions of industrialized countries decreased by 3.3% in the period 1990–2004. However, this was mostly due to a 36.8% decrease in emissions on the part of economies in transition (EITs) of eastern and central Europe (EITs). Within the same time period, the greenhouse gas emissions of the other industrialized Parties of the Convention grew by 11.0%.
The UNFCCC report Greenhouse Gas Data, 2006 constitutes the first complete set of data submitted by all 41 industrialized Parties of the Convention to the Bonn-based secretariat.
The worrying fact is that EITs, which were mostly responsible for the overall emissions reductions of industrialized countries so far, as a group have experienced an emission increase of 4.1 per cent in the period 2000-2004. This means that industrialized countries will need to intensify their efforts to implement strong policies which reduce greenhouse gas emissions—UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer
|Emissions from transportation on the rise. Click to enlarge.|
In particular, transport remains a sector where emission reductions are urgently required but seem to be especially difficult to achieve. Emissions from transportation grew by 23.9% from 1990 to 2004.
According to the released data, the joint emissions of the industrialized countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol were 15.3% below the 1990 level in 2004, while the individual performance of countries varied. The Kyoto Protocol presently requires 35 industrialized countries and the European Community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5% below 1990 levels in its first commitment period between 2008 and 2012.
Some points that emerge from the data are:
The GHG decrease from 1990–2004 for Kyoto partner countries is combined with economic growth.
Greenhouse gas intensity continues to decrease—there are increasingly fewer GHG emissions per GDP unit.
The US is the industrialized country with greatest GHG emissions (39% in 2004); GHG intensity in the US continues to decline. From 1990 to 2004, GDP increased 51.2% and GHG emissions increased 15.8%; From 2000 to 2004, GDP increased 11.7% and GHG emissions increased 1.3%.
Germany is the non-EIT country with the greatest emission decreases since 1990. From 1990 to 2004, German GDP increased 28.6% while GHG emissions dropped 17.2%. From 2000 to 2004, German GDP rose 2.5% while GHG emissions dropped 0.7%.
Russia is the industrialized country with 2nd greatest GHG emissions (11% in 2004) and is the EIT country with greatest emissions. From 1990 to 2004, Russian GDP dropped 13.1% and GHG emissions dropped 32%. From 2000 to 2004, Russian GDP increased 26.1% and GHG emissions increased 4.1%.
Turkey is a new Annex I member (since 2004) and has very rapid economic growth. Turkish GDP increased 65.9% from 1990 to 2004 with GHG emissions increases of 72.6%. From 2000 to 2004, Turkish GDP grew 16.4% while GHG emissions increased 5.3%.
The UN’s chief climate change official pointed out that despite the emission growth in some countries in the period 2000-2004, Parties of the Kyoto Protocol stand a good chance of meeting their individual emissions reduction commitments if they speedily apply the additional domestic mitigation measures they are planning and use the Kyoto Protocol’s market-based flexibility mechanisms.
One promising option for meeting the Kyoto Protocol targets is the use of the clean development mechanism (CDM). The CDM permits industrialized countries to invest in sustainable development projects that reduce emissions in developing countries and thereby generate tradable emission credits. To date, around 375 CDM projects have been registered, with a total estimated emission reduction potential of more than 600 million tonnes. More than 900 more projects are in the pipeline.
The total estimated emission reduction potential of all projects currently in the CDM pipeline in the period up to 2012 stands at around 1.4 billion tonnes, which amounts to about 12% of what industrialized Kyoto Protocol Parties emitted in 1990.
Last week, the UNFCCC launched the second project-based mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol: joint implementation (JI), which allows developed countries to acquire carbon credits from greenhouse gas emission reducing projects undertaken in other industrialized countries.
In the countries that are members of the European Union, the use of the EU emissions trading scheme is growing in importance. We are looking forward to emissions trading between all countries with emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol when the first commitment period starts in 2008.
At the same time, it is clear that further global action on climate change is urgently needed to generate significant investment flows into clean technology, making use of existing and new market mechanisms.—Secretary Yvo de Boer
At the United Nations Climate Change Conference - Nairobi 2006 (6 to 17 November), negotiations on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will continue, along with a dialogue on the future of the climate change process under the UNFCCC.