photo: Mathias Degen
Some preliminary data was recently released on how well the 39 nations which ratified the Kyoto Protocol are doing in reducing carbon emissions and the result for the group overall is, well, a mixed bag. Sixteen nations are on track to meet their obligations, while 20 are not.
Part of the reason: Between 1990-2006 emissions from the countries of the former Soviet Union declined by 36% as those nation's economies crashed on the rocks. However from 2000-2006 emissions from these nations rose 7.4%. At the same time emissions from richer developed nations rose 10%. The result it that emissions for the group as a whole are about 5% below 1990 levels, though from 2000-2006 they rose by 2.5%. This does not include data from three countries which have ratified the Protocol (including carbon emitting heavyweight Australia).
Canada Defiant on Emissions
Interesting to note is the reaction of Canada: Not only has the nation signaled that it does intend to meet its emissions reduction target of 6%, in the period between 1990 and 2006 its emissions rose by 21%. For the sake of comparison, emissions from the United States (which let's remember did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol) rose by 14% during the same period.
No Time For Celebration Yet
So the story is, most of the reductions seen in greenhouse gas emissions were primarily because of economic and political hardship and not action taken by nations to reduce them.
As the UN's top climate change official Yvo de Boer warned, none of this really should be seen as a sign of early achievement. There are countries in the group "that will have to make a great deal of effort" to reach their Kyoto commitments.
Not to mention that these statistics don't include rising emissions from the developing world, which now account for over half of global emissions. So, we're hardly out of the woods...
via: New Scientist, The New York Times, and ENS
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