The second period for developed nations to commit to curbing emissions under the Kyoto Protocol should run from 2013 to 2020, U.K. Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told British lawmakers today.
“In an administratively tidy world, it would be best if it was eight years,” he told parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee during a session on the outcome of the United Nations climate talks in Durban, South Africa.
Huhne was present for the last week of the talks that ended Dec. 11, where more than 190 countries agreed to start work toward a deal with legal force to be adopted by 2015 and enacted by 2020. In exchange, the EU vowed to extend its carbon goals under the existing climate-protection Kyoto Protocol after the current ones expire next year.
The EU already has an internal target to reduce emissions by 20 percent in 2020 compared with 1990 levels.
UN envoys at the Durban talks agreed that the end-date for the so-called Kyoto second commitment period will be decided next year. During the talks, negotiators considered two options: 2017 and 2020.
“It would make sense if it ran up to the 2020 period but that does remain to be settled,” Huhne said. The second period of the Kyoto Protocol was about sending out a “clear signal” that the climate-talk “architecture continues,” he said.
The emissions reductions targeted will have to be “enough to respect the science,” Huhne said. “And the science will move.”
As Britain seeks to meet European Union-set climate goals, carbon capture and storage technology that traps and buries power-generation emissions will be “strategically important” for U.K. energy security, Huhne said.
It is “inevitable” that some of a 1 billion-pound ($1.55 billion) government funding package pulled from an Iberdrola SA carbon-capture project in Scotland will now not be allocated to CCS during the current spending period, Huhne said. The funds will still be made available by the U.K. Treasury for future CCS initiatives, Huhne said.
His comments aim to smooth the debate that the Treasury led by Chancellor George Osborne is less on-board with green policies that may impact British energy-intensive industries.
“Do not fall for the easy story that the Treasury is somehow unsympathetic to these goals” as it encourages cost- competitive low-carbon energy generation for the consumer, Huhne said.
Plans to match the U.K. CCS program with a timetable for CCS projects developed using funds from the European Commission were “ambitious,” Huhne said.
That EC initiative, devised to aid renewable and CCS technologies. The program requires projects to start four years after the Commission awards them funding awards, which it is expected to do in 2012.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sally Bakewell in London at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at email@example.com