Emissions by industrialized countries of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming showed a “worrying” upward trend in the 2000–2004 period and state policies must be intensified to achieve further cuts, according to a United Nations report released today.
Although the overall emissions by these countries dropped 3.3 per cent in the 1990–2004 period, this was mostly due to a 36.8 per cent decrease by economies in transition of eastern and central Europe (EITs), and the other industrialized Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) registered a 11 per cent increase.
“The worrying fact is that EITs, which were mostly responsible for the overall emissions reductions of industrialized countries so far, as a group have experienced an emission increase of 4.1 per cent in the period 2000-2004,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer said at the launching of the report in Bonn, Germany.
“This means that industrialized countries will need to intensify their efforts to implement strong policies which reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he added. The report, Greenhouse Gas Data, 2006, constitutes the first complete set of data submitted by all 41 industrialized Parties. The United States, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is not a party.
Emission reductions are urgently required in the transport sector but they seem to be especially difficult to achieve, growing by 23.9 per cent from 1990 to 2004, the report noted.
The Kyoto Protocol requires 35 industrialized countries and the European Community to reduce greenhouse emissions by an average of 5 per cent below 1990 levels in its first commitment period between 2008 and 2012.
Despite the emission growth in some countries in the latest period 2000-2004, the Parties stand a good chance of meeting individual emissions reduction commitments if they speedily apply the additional domestic mitigation measures they are planning and use the Kyoto Protocol’s market-based flexibility mechanisms.
One promising option for meeting the targets is the use of the clean development mechanism (CDM), allowing industrialized countries to invest in sustainable development projects that reduce emissions in developing countries and thereby generate tradable emission credits.
“We are looking forward to emissions trading between all countries with emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol when the first commitment period starts in 2008,” Mr. de Boer said. “At the same time, it is clear that further global action on climate change is urgently needed to generate significant investment flows into clean technology, making use of existing and new market mechanisms.”