Australia signs up to second Kyoto Protocol commitment period

Posted at November 13, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on Australia signs up to second Kyoto Protocol commitment period

In a further sign that times are changing in the home of coal, Australia has announced that it is ready to sign up to a second Kyoto Protocol commitment period in Doha later this month.

But Australia’s commitment to cut its emissions in line with bipartisan targets of a 5% reduction on 2000 levels will depend on negotiations at the next United Nations climate change summit, notably continued progress towards a new global agreement on emissions reductions starting in 2020.

The first commitment period under the global treaty setting out binding obligations to cut emissions will end on December 31.

The next period starts on January 1, 2013 and will run until 2020, when the next agreement is scheduled to start.

Signing up to the Protocol includes access to international credits under the Clean Development Mechanism for Australian businesses.

A statement from the Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said the commitment “in no way rules out” the option of increasing the country’s 2020 target to 15% or even 25% below 2000 levels if further global action is taken.

“As the world increases the extent of its action on climate change, Australia’s domestic scheme means that we have the ability to match that action,” the statement goes on.

Australia now joins 36 other nations that have signed up to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, but that cohort does not include Canada, Russia, Japan and the US, which has never ratified the treaty.

However, the move has been warmly welcomed by the UK, which has signed up the second commitment period along with the rest of the EU.

“This is an extremely welcome announcement from Australia and for the first time expands international commitment beyond Europe,” says Energy Secretary Ed Davey. “Having Australia on board will really help to push the second Kyoto Protocol period.”

Davey said he would be working hard with Combet in Doha to ensure that more progress is made towards a global, legally binding deal.

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Related stories:
Australia switches on first large-scale solar project (11-Oct)
EU and Australia set out plans to link carbon trading schemes (5-Sept)
Australia brings in controversial carbon tax (2-Jul)

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