The Bonn Climate Change Conference
| THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
In December, 1997, in Kyoto, Japan, some 160 countries reached an historic agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to fight global warming one of the most profound environmental challenges of the 21st century. The Kyoto Protocol includes binding emissions targets for developed nations 8% below 1990 emissions levels for the European Union; 7% for the United States; and 6% for Japan as well as U.S. proposals for flexible, market-based measures to ensure that these targets can be met in a cost-effective manner. The key market-based provisions are:
The Protocol includes additional elements of flexibility:
To enter into force, the Protocol must by ratified by at least 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of the total 1990 greenhouse gas emissions of developed countries. United States ratification will require the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.
SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS
The Parties endorsed a detailed work program to accelerate the negotiations relating to the scope and use of carbon sink activities under the Protocol. Specifically, the Parties clarified their intention to complete work at CoP-6 relating to the definition of forestry activities under Article 3.3 of the Protocol, as well as additional sink categories under Article 3.4, such as those created by improved conservation and management of forests, agricultural soils, and grasslands. This decision will keep the work on sinks on a parallel track with other issues outlined in the Buenos Aires plan of action and was a key U.S. objective going into Bonn.
In 1998, the Parties tasked the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) &$151; an international body of over 2000 of the world's leading climate scientists and experts with conducting a comprehensive study of land use, land-use change, and forestry activities. Once this report is completed in the spring of 2000, the Parties will submit detailed proposals on sink definitions and activities (by August 1, 2000), which will then become the foundation for a negotiating text.
The Parties made good progress at CoP-5 toward a common understanding of the basic elements of an effective compliance system and agreed to a workshop and other meetings to advance work on compliance.
In a related matter, the United States successfully advanced methodological work designed to ensure that national emissions inventories can assist in determining compliance with the Protocol. Parties agreed on the basic elements of national systems for emissions monitoring, as well as on how to ensure the completeness and quality of emission inventories.
DEVELOPING COUNTRY PARTICIPATION
Argentina became the first developing country to announce a binding emissions target for the 2008-2012 time period, following through on its promise to do so made at last year's conference in Buenos Aires. The United States applauds Argentina's announcement and supports the development of a process for international acceptance of Argentina's target as soon as possible. The United States also supports Argentina's call upon the Parties to create a way in which Argentina and other developing countries that voluntarily adopt appropriate targets may benefit from all the Kyoto mechanisms.
Kazakhstan formally requested inclusion in Annex I of the UNFCCC. Although the Parties deferred action on the request, Kazakhstan's action clearly signaled its continued willingness to take on a binding emissions target for the 2008-2012 time period.
These actions signaled a continuing shift in the terms of the international debate on developing country participation, first seen last year in Buenos Aires. Greater engagement in Bonn on the part of developing countries was evidenced in other areas as well, including heightened enthusiasm on the part of many for the Clean Development Mechanism and constructive participation in efforts to forge agreement on emissions trading, joint implementation, sinks, compliance, and other key issues.
The United States called for a new high-level dialogue with developing countries to explore the full-range of market-oriented strategies that can create sustainable development opportunities for developing countries that voluntarily reduce their emissions. Climate change is a global problem requiring a global solution. Thus, securing more meaningful participation from key developing countries remains a top priority for the United States. The Administration will continue a full-court diplomatic press in this area.
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