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What is the future of the Kyoto Protocol?

December 7, 2010

At an open dialogue with the Mexican president Felipe Calderon, he mentioned that the first week of the COP16 negotiations in Cancun had made good headway on a number of topics. These include clauses on technology transfer and adaptation.

On the topic of funding, there was decent headway, although the proposed US$100 billion dollars from the Copenhagen accord is unlikely to surface. Instead, the funding is most likely to be short-term.

However, one major deadlock remains the future of the Kyoto Protocol, which Japan blocked earlier this week. Japan has officially discussed not extending the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2010, a move that is backed by Russia and Canada. This move earned Japan a Fossil of the Day award at the CAN booth at Cancun Messe on the second day of negotiations.

The Kyoto has been rejected by the United States since it was negotiated 13 years ago, but there has been a general expectation that the Kyoto would be extended as the first The KP sets binding emission-reduction targets for 37 industrialized nations and the entire European community under the Annex I list of countries. However, it is due to expire in 2012 and a second commitment period is needed to continue current provisions.

“If any balanced outcome can be produced in international climate change, there must be a continuation of KP,” said China’s Huikang Huang at a press conference in Cancún, in reference to the Kyoto Protocol. “There must be a second period. Without this element there will be no balance.”

It has been said that the future of the world lay in public opinion as people stand up to speak for themselves and draw attention to the issues that matter the most to them, or that it lay in the hands of the corporate world as the private sector had the power to change the bureaucracy.

The latter is true in this case, as nine Japanese industrial associations released a joint statement on opposing the Kyoto Protocol. The nine included the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC), Japan Iron and Steel Federation, Petroleum Association of Japan, and Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

However, public opinion has the power to move mountains, as said in this previous post: Climate change communication forum

The high level segments of the AWG-KP are happening this week.

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