Kyoto Protocol Requirements
In December 1997, Canada and 160 other members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Kyoto, Japan to develop an international accord that would help mitigate the effects of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Under the resulting agreement, countries listed in Annex B to the Kyoto Protocol (essentially UNFCCC Annex I industrialized countries, with a few exceptions) established legally binding individual targets for emission reductions with the aim of reducing overall GHG emissions by 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.
Entry into Force
The Kyoto Protocol was signed by Canada on April 29, 1998 and ratified in 2002. It became legally binding on February 16, 2005 when 55 countries had both signed and ratified the treaty that represent at least 55% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from Annex I nations. Under the terms of the Protocol, Canada is required to reduce emissions to a level of 6% below 1990 levels in the period 2008-2012.
Coverage of the Protocol and Key Features
The Protocol covers emissions of CO2, methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Regular national reporting and national systems for preparation of inventories are required. Market mechanisms can be used to enable countries that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol to achieve these targets cost-effectively. The three Kyoto flexibility mechanisms are:
- International Emissions Trading– Annex B Parties can trade assigned amount units between themselves against their commitments.
- Joint Implementation (JI) – a proponent from one industrialized country would receive assigned amount units from the host Party for investing in a clean technology in, or transferring a clean technology to, another industrialized country; and
- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – this aims to enhance cooperation among industrialized and developing nations via projects involving both industrialized and developing countries.
Canada's National Registry has been established in accordance with Article 7 of the Kyoto Protocol to ensure the accurate accounting of the isuance, holding, transfer, acquisition, cancellation and retirement of emission reductions units (ERUs), certified emission reductions (CERs), assigned amount units (AAUs) and removal units (RMUs).
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