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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
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

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

The Protocol is subject to ratification, acceptance, approval or accession by

Parties to the Convention.
Article 3 (1), Kyoto Protocol

The Parties included in Annex I shall, individually or jointly,

ensure that their aggregate anthropogenic carbon dioxide
equivalent emissions of the greenhouse gases listed
 Annex A
in do not exceed their assigned amounts,
calculated pursuant to their quantified emission limitation
and reduction commitments inscribed in Annex B 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.
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

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]
A reservation is a declaration made by a
ARTICLE 26, Kyoto Protocol state by which it purports to exclude or
alter the legal effect of certain provisions
No reservations may be made to this of the treaty in their application to that
Protocol. 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
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
(in percentage of Total Pollution in 1990)

Canada 3,3% TP

EU 29,8% TP 41,6%TP

Japan 8,5% TP

Russia 17,4% TP

USA 36,1% TP

Annex 1 Total 100%

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

Sept 2004 Nov 2004

55 %


No of % of No of % of
signatories emissions signatories emissions
[POST KYOTO / 2012]
Continuity : Montreal Action Plan + Washington Declaration
Additional regional agreements between non-Parties

‘MAP for the future’

Stéphane Dion, Former Minister of
Environment of Canada comments on