Australia Outlines Conditions for Joining Kyoto Protocol’s Second Commitment Period

9 November 2012: Australia's Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, has announced that Australia is ready to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. UN General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon commended Australia for expressing readiness to join a second commitment period, and called on all governments to take decisive steps to address climate change at the upcoming Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar. 

Ban's spokesperson underscored that “addressing climate change is fundamental for achieving sustainable development,” calling for urgent action.

According to the Australian Government's press release, during the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UNFCCC in Doha, Australia will commit to limiting its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with a Kyoto target of reducing emissions to 5% below 2000 levels, by 2020. The Government highlights that the option of later moving up Australia's 2020 target range of 5% to 15%, or 25%, below 2000 levels, remains on the table if Australia's target conditions relating to the extent of global action are met.

Australia's preparedness to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol in the Doha will be conditional on: continued progress in international negotiations on the new 2015 agreement, including serious commitments from all countries; the second commitment period ending in 2020, in line with the start of the new agreement; and granting access to the Kyoto market mechanisms, including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) from 1 January 2013. Moreover, Australia conditions its participation on the continuation of the existing land sector rules and on the incorporation of rules for carry-over of assigned amount units (AAUs) from the first commitment period that are "appropriate for Australia."

On the use of new global warming potential (GWP) factors agreed to be applied at the Durban Climate Change Conference (COP 17), as set out in the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for calculation of emissions as part of the international accounting framework starting from 2013, Australia states that it will apply the new values to determine liabilities under the carbon pricing mechanism and GHG arrangements from 2017-2018. [UN Secretary-General's Statement] [UN Press Release] [Australia's Press Release]