The Kyoto Protocol, a pioneering environmental treaty adopted at COP3 in Japan in 1997, is the first time nations have agreed on country-by-country emission reduction targets. The protocol, which only came into force in 2005, set binding emission reduction targets only for industrialized countries, based on the fact that they are responsible for most of the world`s high greenhouse gas emissions. The United States first signed the agreement, but never ratified it; President George W. Bush argued that the agreement would hurt the U.S. economy because developing countries such as China and India would not be included. In the absence of the participation of these three countries, the effectiveness of the treaty was limited, as its objectives covered only a small fraction of total global emissions. To contribute to the goals of the agreement, countries presented comprehensive national climate change plans (national fixed contributions, NDC). These are not yet sufficient to meet the agreed temperature targets, but the agreement points to the way forward for further measures. Many countries have stated in their INDCs that they intend to use some form of international emissions trading scheme to implement their contributions.
In order to ensure the environmental integrity of these transactions, the agreement requires the parties to respect accounting practices and to avoid double counting of “mitigation results transferred internationally.” In addition, the agreement will create a new mechanism that would help contain and support sustainable development and could produce or certify negotiable emission units according to its design. Since the Paris Agreement is expected to apply after 2020, the first formal inventory of the agreement will not be carried out until 2023. However, as part of a decision attached to the agreement, the parties decided to restart the five-year cycle with a “facilitation dialogue” on collective progress in 2018 and the presentation of the NDC by 2030 to 2020. The NRDC is working to make the Global Climate Climate Action Summit a success by inspiring more ambitious commitments to the historic 2015 agreement and enhanced pollution reduction initiatives. If the United States joined the agreement, it would be technically necessary to implement an NDC within 30 days. The government could send a strong signal at the start of the new year by declaring its commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 and promising to formally submit a new NDC as soon as it is able to do so. (In the meantime, to meet the technical requirements of the NDC agreement, it could provide a substitute or provisional NDC, such as reintroducing the Obama administration`s 2025 target. Ideally, it would then be able to provide an ambitious and credible NDC in time for COP 26 late for December 2021 in Glasgow. Currently, 197 countries – every nation on earth, the last signatory is war-torn Syria – have adopted the Paris Agreement.
179 of them have consolidated their climate proposals with official approval, including, for the time being, the United States.