COP 17 on Climate Change Concludes at Durban: Kyoto Protocol Extended Beyond 2012

The seventeenth session of the Conference of Parties (COP) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Durban from November 28 to December 9, 2011. The COP was largely aimed at discussing and deciding upon various issues relating to climate change and the Kyoto Protocol (which was set to expire in 2012). According to the Environment Minister Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan, India contributed significantly in the success of the Durban Conference of Parties (COP). India played a key role in establishing the second commitment period under the Kyoto protocol with effect from January 1, 2013, immediately after the expiry of the first commitment period. As part of the Durban accord, it has also been decided to begin a process for developing legal arrangements for enhancing actions of all parties under the Convention.

India followed a clear, consistent and compassionate strategy to the climate change negotiations. India has ensured that the new arrangements, which have to be decided by 2015 and implemented from 2020, are established under the Convention. India also played a critical role in highlighting the issues of equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) in the climate change negotiations. A Green Climate Fund was also established in Durban, the creation of which was well supported by India. However, the most important development that took place during the COP at Durban is the extension of the Kyoto protocol beyond 2012.

While making a statement on the deliberations held during the COP in the Parliament, the Environment Minister clarified that “this (the outcome of the Durban conference) decision does not imply that India has to take binding commitments to reduce its emissions in absolute terms in 2020. India has already announced a domestic mitigation goal of reducing the emissions intensity of its output by 20-25% by 2020 in comparison with 2005 level. This goal is relative in nature and allows India’s emissions to grow as the economy grows. Our National Action Plan on Climate Change is designed to meet this objective. Further steps to implement a strategy that will meet this domestic goal are being taken as part of implementation of the 12th Five Year Plan.”

The Kyoto protocol is an international environmental treaty with the goal of achieving the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The Protocol was initially adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on 16 February 2005. As of September 2011, 191 states had signed and ratified the protocol. The only remaining signatory not to have ratified the protocol is the United States. Canada has now showed signs of joining the solitary league of United States.

Some key documents related to India at Durban Conference:

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This article has been written by a member of the Delhi Greens Blog's dedicated team of writers and researchers from across Delhi NCR, India and the world.

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