World’s most vulnerable countries call for greater ambition in Doha to guarantee integrity of Kyoto Protocol

By Tierney Smith

The world’s most climate vulnerable countries have demanded that the ‘developed world’ submits legally binding emission reductions at COP18 in Doha to ensure the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol is upheld.

In a joint statement to the final plenary in Bangkok, the Least Developed Countries and the Alliance of Small Island States came together to call on developed countries to raise the ambition of their reduction commitments and submit legally binding QELROS (Quantified Emissions Limitation and Reduction Obligations) for a second period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Aligning themselves with the final statement delivered by the African Group at the conference, they said this represented the view of 100 countries and over a billion people most vulnerable to climate change.

The statement read: “We are concerned that the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol, which is the only international treaty that legally binds developed countries to lower emissions, and thus our lone assurance that action will be taken, is eroding before our eyes.

“This will require action in Doha that prioritises reducing emission that is in line with the latest scientific recommendations.”

In a statement released to the final plenary in Bangkok LDCs and AISOS joined together to call on higher ambition from developed countries (Source: UNFCCC/Flickr)

Speaking to RTCC during the conference, LDC chairman Pa Ousman Jarju said talks over the Protocol had been “positive” and that there had been some signs of “movement.”

But he also said the LDC bloc was increasingly unhappy over the lack of ambition from developed countries.

“We cannot use the economic crisis as an excuse for not acting on climate change,” he said.

He warned states that were planning not to be part of KP2 that they would be denied access to CDM carbon credits, which make it cheaper for them to meet their domestic goals.

The  talks ended yesterday with the release of an ‘unofficial draft’ of the Kyoto Protocol which will form the basis of discussions at COP18 in Doha. The Protocol, agreed in 1997, set out legally binding emissions cuts for developed nations.

Outstanding issues – such as the length of the second commitment period and what is to be done with surplus units  are set to be key topics for continued discussion, although Bangkok made some progress in the discussions.

The LDCs and AOSIS also called for the second commitment period to be five years – rather than eight years suggest by some countries – to prevent “insufficient ambition” being locked in.

They also called for the use of surplus units from the first commitment period should be curbed to ensure the effectiveness of the new period, to begin 1 January 2013.

They said parties must affirm that the systems built under the Kyoto Protocol will be applied to the second period and that any amendments should not hold up the implementation of second period commitments.

Finally the group called for countries not under the Kyoto Protocol to make their own commitments under the LCA negotiations.

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