UNEP figures confirm 2010 Kyoto targets will not be met

Fears that greenhouse gas emissions will be well above the 2010 Kyoto targets have been confirmed by the latest global emissions report from the UN Environment Programme, UNEP.

Despite a small reduction in emissions since 1990 from the countries that are party to the Kyoto Protocol, the trend is upwards in the foreseeable future, predicts UNEP. Reductions in emissions from 1990-1995 are now believed to be due largely to economic collapse in several of the eastern European countries.

Svein Tveitdal, managing director at GRID-Arendal, a UNEP information centre in Norway, told edie, “Our data shows that 21 out of 35 countries will not reach their targets without further measures – some of which will need to be radical. It is extremely important that we get a reduction in the Annex 1 outputs, and do not just rely on the use the flexible mechanisms in the protocol to solve the problems. Overall, Annex 1 countries, would need to reduce their CO2 emissions by 13.7% to fulfil Kyoto commitments. To stabilise CO2 levels in the atmosphere at 550 ppmv, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, recommends a global reduction of more than 50%.”

However he emphasised that this shouldn’t diminish the importance of the agreement reached in Marrakech, last week, even if the impact of the agreed reductions on reducing temperature rises is minimal. “This means that every country can ratify the Kyoto protocol and start reducing the emissions as agreed,” he said, adding that a tough compliance system will be in place. It also presents new opportunities for industry in renewable or pollution-free technology, he explained.

Norway is one of the countries facing major challenges to meet its Kyoto target. Norway’s new Minister of Environment, Boerge Brende said in Marrakech that a significant part of Norwegian reductions should be made internally, such as the new government’s investment plan for developing gas-fired power plants, with zero CO2 emissions.

The latest UNEP figures, based on annual emissions reports from Annex 1 countries and the IEA’s 2000 Energy Outlook, are now accessible via UNEP’s new Climate Change Portal. UNEP says the new portal is now the principal gateway to the most up-to-date information on climate change, including graphical presentation of emissions by country, and, the latest IPPC assessments.

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