Scientists have the picture clear. James Hansen et al, in “The Case for Young People and Nature: A Path to a Healthy, Natural, Prosperous Future”,  explain us very clearly that the impact of the actual 0,8°C global warming is causing already several global warming reinforcing mechanisms, like ice melting, ocean acidification, expansion of hot dry subtropical climate belts, etc.

They warn us, with clear scientific arguments, that sustained greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations of more than 350 parts per million (ppm) will lead to very dangerous climate disruption. We now live in a world with 390 ppm.

In 1992, time when the climate convention was agreed upon, an objective was set: “The ultimate objective of this Convention is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” At that time, the GHG concentration in the atmosphere was of 354 ppm. More »

The following text was written before the approval of the decision on the second commitment period. It was approved in the early hours of Sunday 11th December in Durban, as part of a more extented “Durban Package”.

In essence, all the analysis stayed the same. The only very remarkable point is that in the proposal, it the commitment period would have been 5 years. Now it is in doubt if it will be 5 or 8 years!

In the approved decision, it says:

1.  Decides that the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol shall begin on 1 January 2013 and end either on 31 December 2017 or 31 December 2020, to be decided by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol at its seventeenth session;

Throughout the whole “proposed amendment Annex” the text has both options in brackets: e.g in 3.1bis: “(…) in the commitment period 2013 to [2017][2020]“. 

Thereby, it is fundamental to take into account that a reduction of 20% in an 8-year period, is in fact 50% less than 20% reduction in a 5 year period!

On all other issues, the analysis written before the approval of the text is unchanged.

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(Original text)

The new text proposal for the Kyoto Protocol states that a second commitment period will be established. That seems good news; it was what everybody was waiting for.

But, a second commitment period for what? For the sake of having it? For the sake of carbon markets? For calming public opinion?
Let’s see the good points and the bad points of the actual proposal. More »

Decisions are there to be implemented, mandates are there to be fulfilled. That’s the basis of a multilateral legal regime. If decisions and mandates are not followed anymore, then there is no confidence to build upon. There is no use in ‘saving’ the multilateral regime in such a way that nobody believes in it anymore.

Therefore, the legal instruments of the Climate Change Convention are fundamental: More »