Questions raised as Argentina and Kazakhstan move closer to Kyoto

At least two countries that are not bound to reduce their CO2 emissions under the Kyoto Protocol have presented plans to do so. Although moves by Kazakhstan and Argentina have been welcomed, questions remain as to their ability to meet Kyoto requirements.

Kazakhstan announced its hope to gain entry to Annex 1 of the Kyoto Protocol at the fifth meeting of the Contracting Parties of the Kyoto Protocol (COP 5) in Bonn, Germany. Annex 1 membership would mean that Kazakhstan would become part of the group of developed countries that has committed to reducing collective emissions of six greenhouse gases by at least 5% by 2012.

Argentina also unveiled a voluntary commitment to limit its emissions, but on a system linked to its gross domestic product. The country would like its emission reduction commitment to be recognised internationally. Thus far, emission reductions under Kyoto have been linked only to environmental indicators and not to economic ones, and there is considerable controversy regarding Argentina’s proposal.

Meanwhile, Turkey, a country that is currently part of Annex 1, attempted to drop out during COP 5. Some environmental NGOs saw Turkey’s attempt to avoid required emission reductions as doubly disturbing since it is currently negotiating for entry into the European Union. By definition, the EU is an association of developed countries.

Considerations regarding Kazakhstan, Argentina and Turkey and their Kyoto commitments are due to continue for some time.

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