The Kyoto Protocol aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions has become fully operational after the UN climate conference adopted the final rules. The 34 signatory countries-which do not include the US or Australia-passed the final regulatory measures by consensus at the Montreal conference. But Saudi Arabia held up a key section on policing the accord.
Kyoto Protocol is now fully operational
Kyoto obliges about 40 rich nations to curb their emissions of heat-trapping gases
from burning fossil fuels in factories, cars and power plants, by 2012.
Accounting for greenhouse gases
The voluminous rules include details of accounting for greenhouse gases—
n How to encourage investments in developing countries,
n Rules for trade in greenhouse gas emissions, and
n Reams of other operational details.
The Montreal meeting agreed to all but one of the 22 sections of the rules.
Saudi Arabia held up policing the accord
Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter. It wanted rules on compliance to be approved by an amendment to be ratified by all nations, a process that could take years. Saudi delegates argue that an amendment would give the deal more legal teeth. But, environmentalists were not to keep shut. Driven by dislike of a scheme likely to force a shift away from oil toward cleaner energies, they accused Riyadh of trying to bog down Kyoto. Climate policy expert at the WWF environmental group, Jennifer Morgan alleged that Saudi Arabia was an ally of the United States, a non-member of Kyoto.
It was in 2001, a conference in Marrakesh, Morocco agreed the Kyoto rule book. But, to gain legal force it needed formal approval at the Montreal meeting. Delegates predicted that they would overcome the Saudi objections by the end of the conference. The meeting seems confident on agreeing on the compliance system. And despite the Saudi objections, Kyoto backers have celebrated. “This gives the Kyoto Protocol the most innovative rule book we have in multilateral environmental agreements,” said Artur Runge-Metzger, head of the European Commission delegation.