Kyoto Climate Extension Stumbled on Ukraine Emission Limit

Climate negotiators’ failure last week to set emission-limiting rules for the Kyoto Protocol’s extension through 2020 was down to one paragraph on Ukraine’s greenhouse-gas targets, according to the European Union.

Envoys meeting at the United Nations climate talks in Warsaw couldn’t agree on article “3.7ter,” a paragraph in the Kyoto rules that sets the limit on countries’ emissions, said Isaac Valero-Ladron, a climate spokesman for the European Commission. Negotiators have given themselves another seven months to reach agreement, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the EU.

“In a last push on Friday we managed to get agreement on all the Kyoto Protocol implementation rules, except for one paragraph,” Valero-Ladron said yesterday by e-mail. “This paragraph relates to the implementation of the so-called Article 3.7ter for the Ukraine. We were very close to an agreement on this paragraph, but simply ran out of time.”

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol’s second-commitment period, which runs from this year, sets how much Ukraine and other nations in the treaty can emit until 2020 when a new deal covering both emerging and industrialized countries comes into force. When the protocol was extended last year, negotiators never specified how the limits for each nation would be set.

Emissions Budget

Article 3.7ter automatically limits a nation’s emissions budget for 2013-2020 to eight times the average greenhouse-gas output of the three years through 2010, Valero-Ladron said.

Iana Biriuk, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, declined to immediately comment when reached by phone today.

Kyoto now covers about 15 percent of emissions worldwide. Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Russia have not accepted targets under the second commitment period.

Diplomats from almost 190 nations in Warsaw last week laid the groundwork for a treaty to be adopted in 2015 and be enacted five years later that would limit pollution by all nations for the first time.

Countries shouldn’t drop the Kyoto extension as they focus on the 2020 climate deal scheduled to be agreed in Paris in about two years, according to Ed Davey, the U.K.’s energy and climate change secretary.

“I’m absolutely sure we are going to get a deal in Paris,” Davey said in a Nov. 23 interview in Warsaw. There is a commitment among nations to seal a post-2020 agreement, though “I’m not sure on the size of that deal, the shape of that deal,” he said.

Before the end of the decade, the EU may struggle to ratify the Kyoto deal as it seeks to tighten its own emission limits next year, Wendel Trio, a director at Climate Action Network, a pressure group who attended the climate talks last week, said today by phone.

“It would be a great surprise if the EU were to back away from Kyoto Protocol II,” said Andrei Marcu, head of the Centre for European Policy Studies’ carbon market forum in Brussels. “Boosting ambition will be a serious discussion in Brussels over the next few months.”

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