The Doha Amendment, which established the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period in 2012, is set to enter into force, signaling the willingness of the international community to deliver on key climate pledges and to tackle climate change through multilateral cooperation.
The required 144 instruments of acceptance of the Doha Amendment have been received by the UN Depository of Treaties in New York, which means that the entry into force of the Amendment will happen within 90 days.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasised the need for multilateral cooperative action towards addressing the climate emergency. The Doha Amendment’s entry into force is a strong signal of a unified, multilateral commitment to address climate change. And it demonstrates political commitment towards pre-2020 action which is important to build trust ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow next year,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.
“It is great to see that the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by Jamaica and Nigeria today, which means it will come into force this year. In the run up to COP26, we must continue to work closely with our international partners to deliver on existing climate commitments and ramp up global ambition,” said Alok Sharma, COP26 President-designate.
The Doha Amendment was adopted with the intent to assist developing countries with low or insignificant greenhouse gas emissions but are suffering the consequences to access financial assistance to support efforts to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Its entry into force is said to be critical for the rigorous and successful implementation of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Amendment strengthens quantified emission limitation or reduction commitments for developed countries and sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 18% compared to 1990 levels. Once in force, the emission reduction commitments of those countries (Annex-I Parties) that have targets under the second commitment period (2013 – 2020) become legally binding.
Specifically, the Amendment sets a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 18% compared to 1990 levels for countries that are participating in the second commitment period. This represents an increase from an average reduction of 5% compared to 1990 levels during the protocol’s first commitment period from 2008 – 2012.
Developed countries that have targets under the second commitment period of the protocol have been provisionally applying the amendment pending its entry into force. Latest data shows that for these countries, the total aggregate GHG emissions in 2018 were 25.3% lower than in 1990.
Entry into force means that the accounting of the Kyoto Protocol’s second phase can go ahead as anticipated and that the Kyoto Protocol’s compliance committee can fully fulfill its legal functions.
The Kyoto Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. It legally binds developed countries and economies in transition to limit and reduce GHG emissions in accordance with agreed individual targets.
The protocol established flexible market mechanisms, which are based on the trade of emissions permits which countries can use to meet a part of their national reduction targets. Corresponding to its national target, each participating country is issued with Assigned Amount Units (AAUs), which are tradeable emissions permits under the protocol.
The entry into force of the Doha Amendment means that the AAUs for the second commitment period will now be issued to participating countries, which will enable them to formally comply with the requirements of the second commitment period.
While the entry into force of the Doha Amendment demonstrates political commitment to climate change action before 2020, it is occurring against the backdrop of rising global emissions.
The current global emissions pathway would likely result in an increase of global average temperatures of 3C or more, which is significantly higher than the temperature limits of less than 2C and as close to 1.5C as possible as contained in the Paris Agreement.
The assessment under the Doha Amendment revealed that the greenhouse gas reductions have generally been achieved through national mitigation policies and actions. These policies and actions represent a solid foundation for ramping up ambition.This year is critical with respect to climate change ambition as 2020 is the year in which Parties will submit their new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
NDCs are at the heart of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Each NDC reflects the country’s ambition, taking into account its domestic circumstances and capabilities.
The submission of new or updated NDCs represents an important opportunity for all countries to raise their ambition and to put the entire world onto a reduced emissions pathway.