International Law and China : Treaty system

Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)



1979 First world Climate Conference 1987 Montreal Protocol signed in Montreal 1990 Second World Climate Conference 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) signed at UN Conference on Environmental and Development in Rio de Janeiro 1995 First session of the Conference of the Parties to the FCCC (for ratifying States) in Berlin (COP1) ; Berlin Mandate established 1996 COP2, Geneva 1997 Meetings of the Ad hoc Group on the Berlin Mandate (AGBM) 1997 COP3, Kyoto 2005 COP11 & MOP1, Montreal ; Montreal Action Plan (MAP) 2007 Washington Declaration

What is Kyoto Protocol ? an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, assigning mandatory targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to signatory nations Only Parties to the Convention that have also become Parties to the Protocol will be bound by the Protocol’s commitments. (by ratifying, accepting, approving, or acceding to it) 168 countries and one regional economic integration organization (the EEC) have ratified the Protocol to date.

The text of the Protocol to the UNFCCC was adopted at the third session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997; Open for signature from 16 March 1998 to 15 March 1999 at United Nations Headquarters By that date the Protocol had received 84 signatures. Those Parties that have not yet signed the Kyoto Protocol may accede to it at any time. The Protocol is subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by Parties to the Convention.

Article 3 (1), Kyoto Protocol

Annex B

The Parties included in Annex I shall, individually or jointly, ensure that their aggregate anthropogenic carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of the greenhouse gases listed in do not exceed their assigned amounts, calculated pursuant to their quantified emission limitation and reduction commitments inscribed in and in accordance with the provisions of this Article, with a view to reducing their overall emissions of such gases by at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008 to 2012.

 Annex A

The targets cover emissions of the six main greenhouse gases, namely: • • • • • • Carbon dioxide (CO2); Methane (CH4); Nitrous oxide (N2O); Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)


[The Kyoto Protocol Mechanisms]
The Protocol allows developed countries to reach their targets in different ways through “Flexibility Mechanism” • Joint Implementation (JI) • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) • Emission Trading (ET) maximize the cost-effectiveness of climate change mitigation by allowing Parties to pursue opportunities to cut emission enhance carbon sinks, more cheaply abroad than at home.

[RATIFICATION of Kyoto Protocol]

Entered into force  on 16 February 2005

Article 25 (1), Kyoto Protocol This Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date on which not less than 55 Parties to the Convention, incorporating Parties included in Annex I which accounted in total for at least 55 per cent of the total carbon dioxide emissions for 1990 of the Parties included in Annex I, have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Ratification defines the international act whereby a state indicates its consent to be bound to a treaty if the parties intended to show their consent by such an act. In the case of bilateral treaties, ratification is usually accomplished by exchanging the requisite instruments, while in the case of multilateral treaties the usual procedure is for the depositary to collect the ratifications of all states, keeping all parties informed of the situation. The institution of ratification grants states the necessary time-frame to seek the required approval for the treaty on the domestic level and to enact the necessary legislation to give domestic effect to that treaty. [Arts.2 (1) (b), 14 (1) and 16, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969]

"Accession" is the act whereby a state accepts the offer or the opportunity to become a party to a treaty already negotiated and signed by other states. It has the same legal effect as ratification. Accession usually occurs after the treaty has entered into force. [Arts.2 (1) (b) and 15, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969] The instruments of "acceptance" or "approval" of a treaty have the same legal effect as ratification and consequently express the consent of a state to be bound by a treaty. In the practice of certain states acceptance and approval have been used instead of ratification when, at a national level, constitutional law does not require the treaty to be ratified by the head of state. [Arts.2 (1) (b) and 14 (2), Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969]

ARTICLE 26, Kyoto Protocol
No reservations may be made to this Protocol.

Reservation A reservation is a declaration made by a state by which it purports to exclude or alter the legal effect of certain provisions of the treaty in their application to that state. A reservation enables a state to accept a multilateral treaty as a whole by giving it the possibility not to apply certain provisions with which it does not want to comply. Reservations can be made when the treaty is signed, ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to. Reservations must not be incompatible with the object and the purpose of the treaty. Furthermore, a treaty might prohibit reservations or only allow for certain reservations to be made. [Arts.2 (1) (d) and 19-23, Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties 1969]

Distribution of emissions of GHG between Annex 1 countries
(in percentage of Total Pollution in 1990)

Canada EU Japan Russia USA Annex 1 Total

3,3% TP 29,8% TP 8,5% TP 17,4% TP 36,1% TP 100% 41,6%TP

• • •

The U.S. is the world’s single-largest source of CO2 emissions, accounting for 36% in 1990. As such, U.S. ratification would clearly push the Kyoto thermometer above the 55% threshold and thus, bring the Protocol into force. However, in March of 2001 President George W. Bush steadfastly rejected the Kyoto Protocol citing the “fact” that, “[T]he Kyoto treaty would severely damage the United States’ economy…”

pic is not relevant to kyoto treaty

Russia’s Ratification Vladimir Putin approved the treaty on November 4, 2004 and Russia officially notified the United Nations of its ratification on November 18, 2004.
"We'll toast the Duma with vodka tonight," Greenpeace climate policy adviser Steve Sawyer said

Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol
Calculation in chronological order 2001 ratifications (Romania and Czech Republic) Iceland (23rd May) Norway (30th May) Slovakia European Union (15 members) (31st May) Japan (4th June) Latvia (5th July) Bulgaria (15th August) Hungary (21st August) Estonia (14th October) Poland (13th December 2002) Canada (17th December 2002) New Zealand (19th December 2002) Switzerland (Mid 2003) Russia (November 2004) Share of 1990 2.48 0.02 0.26 0.42 24.23 8.55 0.17 0.60 0.52 0.28 3.02 3.33 0.19 0.32 17.40 Cumulative 2.48 2.50 2.76 3.18 27.41 35.96 36.13 36.73 37.25 37.53 40.55 43.88 44.07 44.39 61.79 > 55

[ Kyoto thermometer ]
Sept 2004 Nov 2004

55 %

Russia Europe Japan Canada… Europe Japan Canada…

No of signatories

% of emissions

No of signatories

% of emissions

[POST KYOTO / 2012]
Continuity : Montreal Action Plan + Washington Declaration Change Additional regional agreements between non-Parties Replacement

‘MAP for the future’ Stéphane Dion, Former Minister of Environment of Canada comments on