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What is ‘Eligibility’ in the context of the Kyoto Protocol negotiations?

November 28, 2012

View of the Plenary Hall in Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC)

Countries with commitments under the Kyoto Protocol to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions must meet their targets primarily through national measures. As an additional means of meeting these targets, the Kyoto Protocol introduced three market-based mechanisms, thereby creating what is now known as the “carbon market.”

The Kyoto mechanisms are:

The Kyoto mechanisms:

  • Stimulate sustainable development through technology transfer and investment
  •  Help countries with Kyoto commitments to meet their targets by reducing emissions or removing carbon from the atmosphere in other countries in a cost-effective way
  • Encourage the private sector and developing countries to contribute to emission reduction efforts

JI and CDM are the two project-based mechanisms which feed the carbon market. JI enables industrialized countries to carry out joint implementation projects with other developed countries, while the CDM involves investment in sustainable development projects that reduce emissions in developing countries.

The carbon market is a key tool for reducing emissions worldwide. It was worth 30 billion USD in 2006 and is growing.

Annex I Parties must provide information in their national communications under the Protocol to demonstrate that their use of the mechanisms is “supplemental to domestic action” to achieve their targets. This information is assessed by the facilitative branch of the Compliance Committee.

Eligibility is now being discussed in light of the second commitment period (CP2) starting from 1 January 2013. Previously (and up till the expiry of the first commitment period), eligibility requirements were/are as follows:

Detailed eligibility requirements can be found under the respective decisions agreed by the CMP, as follows:

  • ET eligibility requirements are reflected in in the Modalities, rules and guidelines for emissions trading under Article 17 of the Kyoto Protocol ((PDF) decision 11/CMP.1);
  • CDM eligibility requirements are reflected in section F in the modalities and procedures ((PDF)decision 3/CMP.1);
  • JI eligibility requirements are reflected in section D in the Guidelines for implementation of Article 6 of the Kyoto Protocol ((PDF) decision 9/CMP.1);

Businesses, non-governmental organizations and other legal entities may participate in the three mechanisms under the authority and responsibility of governments.

However, as the Canada, Japan and the Russian Federation have indicated, they will not be participating either in the Kyoto Protocol or CP2, things have gotten more complicated. Details as follows:

  • On 15 December 2011, the Depositary received written notification of Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol. This action will become effective for Canada on 15 December 2012.
  • In a communication dated 10 December 2010, Japan indicated that it does not have any intention to be under obligation of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.
  • In a communication dated 8 December 2010 that was received by the secretariat on 9 December 2010, the Russian Federation indicated that it does not intend to assume a quantitative emission limitation or reduction commitment for the second commitment period.

This means that new mechanisms for establishing eligibility to participating in the Kyoto’s mechanisms for reducing global greenhouse gases need to be negotiated. Today in Doha, these negotiations are being undertaken in various tracks, not least the Ad hoc working group on further commitments of Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), which is currently having spin-off sessions to discuss proposals to do so.

For more details and information, please visit this page or see the following documents:

pdf-icon Information note (98 kB)

pdf-icon Agenda (82 kB)

pdf-icon Background sheet for all sessions (102 kB)
pdf-icon Background sheet for session 1 (172 kB)
pdf-icon Background sheet for session 2 (161 kB)

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