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Ministerial Roundtable Addresses Increased Ambition of Kyoto Protocol

UNFCCC5 June 2014: For the first time ever, ministers joined the June session of the UN climate change talks. In a roundtable discussion on 5 June, they discussed increased ambition of Kyoto Protocol commitments and stressed the urgency of taking action. The roundtable provided an opportunity for ministers to: take stock of progress made in implementing the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; discuss how to increase ambition in reducing emissions for that period; and address how lessons learned in implementing the Protocol could positively influence mitigation ambition, including under the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP).

While the roundtable emphasized increasing ambition of Annex I parties with commitments under the Protocol, all parties were invited to contribute to the discussion. Participants discussed questions related to: the status of ratification and implementation of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol and expediting its entry into force; policies and measures that have been deployed or are planned in increasing ambition; and combining domestic mitigation action and mitigation through international market-based mechanisms to best facilitate future emission reductions.

During the discussions, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres expressed hope that the “clarity and starkness” of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) findings “would not paralyze but jolt efforts to protect the planet” and lamented that only 10 out of the required 144 Doha Amendment ratifications have been received. Halldor Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC Secretariat, informed participants that, in the first commitment period, overall emissions decreased to 22.6% below the base year.

The EU emphasized the importance of not only ratifying but also implementing the Doha Amendment. He announced that the EU was set to overachieve its target of 20% emission reductions below 1990 levels in 2013 to 2020 and reiterated the conditional offer to increase this commitment to 30% if other countries contributed according to their respective responsibilities and capabilities.

Many developing countries: called for prompt ratification of the Doha amendment; stressed that ratification by Annex I parties and enhanced action were crucial to build trust for the ADP negotiations; and emphasized leadership and increased ambition by developed countries as fundamental for international cooperation on combating climate change. South Africa criticized Annex I countries for: not participating in the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period; letting “national interests trump the global common good”; and opting out of multilateral rules. The African Group said increased ambition should “limit” the use of offsetting mechanisms. Iran emphasized pre-2020 ambition includes not only mitigation but also means of implementation. Algeria stated that: implementation of the second commitment period is a precondition for success in increasing pre-2020 ambition; and delay of action under it and withdrawal of some countries from the Kyoto Protocol have undermined this process.

Developed countries, in particular, stressed the need for all countries to reduce their emissions in the pre-2020 period, according to their common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), with Switzerland adding that, while the Kyoto Protocol allowed developed countries to take the lead, “the future will require participation of all.”

COP 19/CMP 9 President Marcin Korolec, Poland, and incoming COP 20/CMP 10 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru, co-chaired the roundtable. The Secretariat will prepare a report for consideration at CMP 10 in Lima, Peru. [Information Note on Ministerial Roundtable][IISD RS coverage of Bonn 2014 Climate Change Conference]