Battle ground set for The Hague Climate Summit

Industries, Think Tanks and NGOs have finalised their positions for the upcoming COP6 on climate change in The Hague.

Industries, Think Tanks and NGOs have finalised their positions for the upcoming COP6 on climate change in The Hague. The 6th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will try to find solutions to the outstanding implementation issues of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change was adopted in 1997 and calls on governments to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. The Protocol needs 55 countries to ratify it before it can enter into force. Currently only 29 countries have ratified it.

Four key issues will dominate the Climate Summit:

  • Domestic measures versus "flexible mechanisms". Can an industrialised country reach its emissions targets by buying emissions credits from other countries (the "emissions trading scheme"), or by transfering environmentally sound energy technologies to developing countries (the "Clean Development Mechanism"), or by investing in another industrialised country (the "Joint Implementation")? Should there be any ceiling set on the use of flexible mechanisms?
  • The use of so-called "sinks". Can investing in new planting of trees or forests (which store greenhouse gases) compensate for real reduction of these gases?
  • Sanctions: how can effective sanctions be imposed and implemented when countries do not reach their targets?
  • Aid to developing countries: how can they participate in the strategy without sacrificing their right to economic development

Under the Kyoto agreements, the EU is obliged to cut its overall emissions to 8% below the 1990 level by 2008-2012. The Environment Council of 16 June 1998 adopted an internal "burden sharing" agreement, specifying the reduction targets of the 15 member states. Currently only the UK and Germany reach the adopted targets.

In March 2000 the Commission launched the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) to prepare additional policies and measures, as well as an internal emissions trading scheme to be set up before 2005.

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