July 22, 2001 – Jan Pronk, President of the sixth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC has published a new proposal to break the deadlock on implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. Friends of the Earth International believes it provides the basis for agreement in Bonn, despite its weaknesses and loopholes.
Key points are:
- Mr. Pronk’s plan proposes a binding compliance regime that would penalise countries that exceed their Kyoto targets. However, the penalty system is relatively weak, requiring countries that fail to meet their targets to cut 1.3 tonnes of carbon later for every 1 tonne over the target.
- The plan allows developed countries to rely heavily on domestic forestry and other land use projects to meet targets, reducing the need for action at home to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It would also allow “sink” forestry projects in the Clean Development Mechanism, which finances projects in developing countries. Mr Pronk has proposed caps on these projects, but these are weak and no criteria are specified to avoid adverse social and environmental impacts, particularly on indigenous communities and biodiversity. The plan also fails to set rules requiring public participation and proper environmental impact assessments.
- The plan appears to exclude nuclear power from climate change projects between nations – both Joint Implementation and in the Clean Development Mechanism, although the language is not clear.
- The plan provides for a “prompt start” for small-scale clean energy projects, but the price of carbon implied by the extent of sinks allowed in the plan may be too low to make such projects economically attractive.
- The plan weakens the requirement that non-domestic projects be “supplementary” to action at home to cut emissions, defining this principle only as requiring that domestic action be “a significant element” of action to meet Kyoto targets.
- The plan contains some reference to equity issues, in that it suggests that developed countries should act “in a manner conducive to narrowing per capita differences [i.e. in emissions] between developed and developing countries.”
The plan fails to provide reliable or adequate funding for developing countries seeking to reduce their vulnerability to climate change.
Friends of the Earth Climate Campaigner Kate Hampton said: “Mr Pronk has given us hope of a workable deal. Time is short but failure to deliver rules that enable countries to ratify the Protocol is not an option. This would be the ultimate betrayal of the millions of people whose future security depends on real action to fight climate change. Countries like Canada, Japan and Australia must stop their obstructive behaviour and commit to ratification.”
Kate Hampton 00 44 7748 967 323
Ian Willmore 00 44 7887 641 344