Examining the Prospects and Challenges
1 EXAMINING THE PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTING THE KYOTO PROTOCOL BY ISU, DORATHY AKWUGO JULY 2008 INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA ENUGU CAMPUS 2 ABSTRACT This paper examined the Kyoto protocol its mechanisms and implementation in the light of attaining sustainable development especially in the developing world. It explains the problems of climate change which led to the enumeration of the Kyoto protocol as well as the challenges faced so far in its implementation.
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It also examines the prospects of its success vis-a-vis the criticisms and challenges which it has faced in the course of implementation. Some of these challenges include the argument that though Annex 1 countries have agreed to achieve the Kyoto target 5% reduction in their 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, it is no more than a pinprick in the menace of climate change. The Kyoto figures also exclude emission from aviation and shipping which are contributors to carbon footprints.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has also been said to offer technology transfer as sufficient in itself without underlying reference to the real energy needs of developing countries. The paper concludes that the Kyoto protocol is a step in the right direction to addressing the growing concerns over climate change and recommends that the far reaching effects of global climate change require that a joint effort by all the world’s nations such as is attempted by the Kyoto protocol is necessary to save the earth. INTRODUCTION
In recent times, scientists, environmentalists and development experts have been concerned with the deterioration of our natural environment which has been associated with development and industrialisation worldwide. This deterioration not only impairs human health but also causes loss of wild biodiversity and depletion of natural non renewable minerals (Baker, 2006: 3). There is also the realisation that the world is getting warmer as a result of the emission of greenhouse gasses, causing unprecedented climate change and that things will get worse unless something urgent is done.
These realisations are perhaps what gave birth to the concept of sustainable development which according to the Brundtlandt report of the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987 is defined as “meeting the needs of the 3 present generation without compromising the needs of the future generations” (Jhingan, 2007:22iie). Baker, (2006:5) explains that the sustainable development model represents an important example of the environmentalist approach which adopts a global perspective in its efforts to reconcile the ecological, social and economic dimensions of development, now and in the future.
She adds that it promotes “a form of development that is contained within the ecological carrying capacity of the planet, which is socially just and economically inclusive… ” and which focuses, “… not on the individual advancement but on protecting the common future of mankind”. According to Jhingan, (2007:22iif), sustainable development aims at the creation of sustainable improvements in the quality of life for all the people as the principal goal of development policy. He opined that besides increasing economic growth and meeting basic needs, sustainable development has the specific goals of bettering people? health and education opportunities, giving everyone the chance to participate in public life, helping to ensure a clean environment and promoting intergenerational equity. Todaro and Smith, (2006:470) linked poverty to environmental degradation. They stated that “the interaction between poverty and environmental degradation can lead to a self-perpetuating process in which as a result of ignorance or economic necessity, communities may inadvertently destroy or exhaust the resources on which they depend for survival… and that “… the poorest 20% of the world? s population will experience the consequences of environmental ills most acutely. 4 Todaro and Smith, (2006:470) also noted that damage to soil, water supplies and forests resulting from unsustainable methods of production can greatly reduce long-term national productivity but will have a positive impact on current GNI figures. They therefore advocated that long-term implications of environmental quality be considered in economic analysis.
They further added that rapid population growth and expanding economic activity in the developing world are likely to do extensive environmental damage unless steps are taken to mitigate their negative consequences. Jhingan, (2007:22iif) summed up the argument by stating that sustainable development is ultimately geared towards “accelerating economic development in order to conserve and enhance the stock of environmental, human and physical capital without making the future generations worse off”. The United Nations (UN) has played a particularly prominent role in stimulating engagement with the model of sustainable development.
They have also organised several world summits, which include the United Nations conference on environment and Development (UNCED) which took place in Rio de Janeiro in June 2002 otherwise known as the Rio Earth Summit and the Johannesburg World Summit on sustainable development (WSSD) held in 2002. These activities have advanced understanding on the meaning of sustainable development and have also led to several internationally binding environmental agreements including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) from which the Kyoto protocol originated (Baker, 2006: 6-7).
At a conference held in December (1st to 11th) 1997, in Kyoto, Japan, the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to a 5 historic protocol to reduce green house gas emissions by harnessing the forces of the global market place to protect the environment. This study attempts to explain the problems of climate change which led to the enumeration of the Kyoto protocol as well as the challenges faced so far in its implementation. It also examines the prospects of its success vis-a-vis the criticisms and challenges which it has faced in the course of the implementation.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT Climate change is one of the core issues of the sustainable development agenda which is unfortunately not amenable to simple solutions. According to Baker, (2006: 81), its management has lead to the development of a complex and highly controversial global management regime which addresses issues not only in relation to the environment but cuts across sectors including transport and energy and across behavioural areas, including consumption habits and lifestyle patterns.
The build up of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is the main cause of climate change. Ninety nine percent (99%) of our atmosphere is made up of only two gasses; 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. These do not really affect the climate regulation of the planet. The six trace gasses which are responsible for global warming make up only 1% of gasses in the atmosphere. These gasses which are created mainly by human activities are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons. These are called greenhouse gasses (www. bc. ca). The most industrialised nations and nations in transition are the biggest culprits as they have been pumping out ever increasing volumes of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses. They burn fossil fuels in their power plants, homes, factories and cars and also clear forests thereby destroying trees which absorb carbon dioxide so as to build cities (www. cbc. ca). 6 These greenhouse gasses allow solar radiation to pass through the earth? s atmosphere. The problem lies with the fact that the earth is unable to absorb all the radiation and therefore reflects it back.
The particles of greenhouse gasses absorb the radiation thereby heating up and warming the atmosphere. The increasing levels of greenhouse gasses are causing too much energy to be trapped and this is referred to as the greenhouse effect (www. cbc. ca). Although the findings of climate change are often subject to conflicting interpretations, the scientific consensus is that the earth is warming and that the overall impact will be negative. Baker, (2006:83) states that “changing weather patterns are likely to bring increased risks of droughts and flooding, more extreme weather events and sea-level rises”.
The ecological consequences will include increased risk of species extinction especially in fragile environments such as the Antarctica. She however explained that these impacts will not be evenly felt and will likely show regional and local variations. Across developing countries, millions of the worlds poorest are already being forced to cope with the impacts of climate change. These impacts do not register as apocalyptic events in the full glare of the world media attention but go unnoticed in the measurement of the world gross domestic product.
The early warning signs are already visible; increased exposure to floods and environmental stress is holding back the efforts of the poor to build a better life for themselves and their families. It will also undermine international efforts to combat poverty and hamper efforts to deliver the MDG promise. (UNDP, 2007:7) In February 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was the outcome of a process involving two thousand (2000) international scientific experts released a report that confirmed the inevitability of global warming. The report predicted that sea levels will rise as a result of melting of polar sheets. They also predicted that the average global surface temperatures which had risen by about 0. 6 degrees since 1900 will continue to rise up to about 1. 4 to 5. 8 degrees over the next 100 years with developing countries most vulnerable. Some of the long term implications of climate change were also predicted in a report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund. The report states that the warming of the earth? surface will impact heavily on the arctic so much that its polar ice could melt in the summer by the year 2100, pushing polar bears close to extinction (www. cbc. ca). The Kyoto protocol attempts to address the problem of climate change and more specifically, global warming so as to avert the disasters that are inevitable if proactive steps are not taken. It is ultimately geared towards preventing “dangerous anthropogenic (man-made) interference with the climate system” (European Commission 2008).
THE KYOTO PROTOCOL; OBJECTIVES, MECHANISMS, IMPLEMENTATION AND LIMITATIONS The Kyoto Protocol is a legally binding agreement under which industrialised countries will reduce their collective emissions of green house gasses by 5. 2% compared to the year 1990 (www. kyotoprotocol. com). The Kyoto protocol treaty was negotiated in December 1997 at the city of Kiyoto, Japan. For the protocol to enter into force, it must be ratified by 55 nations and by the nations responsible for 55% of industrialised countries emissions in 1990.
Of the two conditions, the “55 parties” clause was reached on May 23, 2002 when Iceland ratified. The ratification by Russia on 18 November 2004 satisfied the “55%” clause and brought the agreement came into force on February 16, 2005. 8 As of June 2008, 182 parties have ratified the protocol. Of these, 36 developed countries (plus the EU as a party in its own right) are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the levels specified for each of them in the treaty (representing over 61. % of emissions from Annex I countries), with three more countries intending to participate. The United States has not ratified the treaty. (www. wikipedia. com). EMISSION TARGETS A central feature of the Kyoto Protocol is a set of binding emission targets for developed nations. These targets require reducing emission of the six green house gasses. Greenhouse gas emissions targets apply to 38 industrialised countries and economies in transition.
The specific limits vary from country to country, though those for the key industrial powers of the European Union, Japan and the United States are similar; 8% below 1990 emission levels for the EU, 7% for the United States and 6% for Japan (US Environmental Protection Agency, 1999) The emission targets are to be reached over a five year budget period so as to increase flexibility and smooth out problems which could be caused by weather or economic performance either of which could cause increased emissions. Demonstrable progress towards meeting the target must be made by 2005.
The first budget period will be 2008 to 2012 since it is expected that having a full decade before the start of the binding period will allow more time to make the transition to greater energy efficiency and/or lower carbon technologies. (US Environmental Protection Agency, 1999) Another provision of the framework for emission targets is that activities that absorb carbon, such as planting trees could be used as offsets against emission 9 targets. Accounting for the role of forests is critical to a comprehensive and environmentally responsive approach to climate change.
It also provides the private sector with low cost opportunities to reduce emissions. Developing nations are not subject to any emission reduction caps under Kyoto. China and India, two of the world? s fastest growing polluters have like other developing countries, been given a pass on the first Kyoto round and do not have to start making emission cuts until after 2012 (www. cbc. ca). The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to a set of a “common but differentiated responsibilities. ” The parties agreed that: 1.
The largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries; 2. Per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low, and 3. The share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs. In other words, China, India, and other developing countries were not included in any numerical limitation of the Kyoto Protocol because they were not the main contributors to the greenhouse gas emissions during the pre-treaty industrialization period.
However, even without the commitment to reduce according to the Kyoto target, developing countries do share the common responsibility that all countries have in reducing emissions. (www. wikipedia. com) With 2. 2% of the world? s population, Nigeria accounts for 0. 4% of global emissions, an average of 0. 9 tonnes of Carbon dioxide per person. Nigeria has signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol and as a non Annex 1 party to the protocol, 10 Nigeria is not yet bound by any specific targets for greenhouse gas emissions (http://hdr. ndp. org) MECHANISMS FOR MEETING EMISSION TARGETS The most obvious way to meet emission targets is to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions through measures such as using more fuel efficient cars, fewer coal fired power plants, improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings and so on. The Kyoto protocol however allows four main mechanisms for meeting emission targets. These are discussed as follows: 1. International Emissions Trading: The Kyoto protocol allows nations with emission targets to trade greenhouse gas allowances.
Emission trading means that countries can purchase less expensive emission permits from countries that have more permits than they require to stay below the their emission quotas. Structured effectively, emissions trading can provide a powerful economic incentive to cut emissions while allowing flexibility for taking cost effective actions. The inclusion of this mechanism reflects an important decision to address climate change through the flexibility of market mechanisms. (US Environmental Protection Agency, 1999) 2.
Clean Development Mechanism (CDM): This is another important market based component of the Kyoto protocol. This mechanism enhances sustainable development by allowing industrialised countries to finance emissions reduction projects in developing countries and receive credit for doing so. With the clean development mechanism, developed countries will be able to use certified emission reductions from projects or activities in developing countries to contribute to their compliance with greenhouse gas 11 reduction targets.
Such projects could include construction of high tech environmentally sound power plants for the benefit of both parties. The developed countries will therefore be able to reduce emissions at lower cost than they could at home while developing countries will be able to receive the kind of technology that enhances sustainable development. The CDM will certify and score projects and will also allow developing countries to bring projects forward in circumstances where there is no immediate developed country partner.
Parties must also ensure that a portion of the proceeds are used to help particularly vulnerable developing countries. This mechanism serves to engage developing countries who have no specific emission targets by promoting the transfer of environmental friendly technologies. (US Environmental Protection Agency, 1999) 3. Joint Implementation among Developed Countries: Countries with emission targets may obtain credit towards their targets through project based emission reduction in other Annex 1 countries.
This also allows the participation of the private sector can acquire emission reduction units by financing certain kinds of projects in other developed countries or economies in transition. For example, they could undertake a particular project such as helping to replace an outmoded power plant with a more carbon efficient alternative (Baker, 2006:92) 4. Carbon Sequestration: This is the long-term storage of carbon in geological formations such as oil wells.
This mechanism was added at the COP – 7 meeting in Marrakech, resulting in the Marrakech Accord. The protocol allows land use, land use change and foresting activities to be used to increase long term carbon storage in “natural sinks” which can draw 12 carbon down from the atmosphere and store it in forests. This use has been criticised by environmentalists who fear the unknown effects of interference with nature over geological time. ENFORCEMENT The Kyoto protocol contains measures to assess performance and progress. It also contains some penalties.
Countries who fail to meet their emission targets by the end of the first commitment period (2012) must make up the difference plus a penalty of thirty percent (30%) in the second commitment period. Their ability to sell credits under emissions trading will also be suspended (www. cbc. ca). CRITICISMS, LIMITATIONS AND CHALLENGES OF IMPLEMENTING THE KYOTO PROTOCOL The Kyoto protocol though a laudable step in the right direction towards a sustainable solution to the problem of climate change, has faced intense criticisms.
Some argue that though Annex 1 countries have agreed to achieve the Kyoto target 5% reduction in their 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, it is no more than a pinprick in the menace of climate change. The Kyoto figures also exclude emission from aviation and shipping which are contributors to carbon footprints (www. oneworld. net). Some public policy experts who are sceptical of global warming see Kyoto as a scheme to either slow the growth of the world’s industrial democracies or to transfer wealth to the third world in what they claim is a global socialism initiative (www. ikipedia. com). Furthermore, there is controversy surrounding the use of 1990 as a base year, as well as not using per capita emissions as a basis. Countries had different achievements in energy efficiency in 1990. For example, the former Soviet Union 13 and eastern European countries did little to tackle the problem and their energy efficiency was at its worst level in 1990; the year just before their communist regimes fell. On the other hand, Japan, as a big importer of natural resources, had to improve its efficiency after the 1973 oil crisis nd its emissions level in 1990 was better than most developed countries. However, such efforts were set aside, and the inactivity of the former Soviet Union was overlooked and could even generate big income due to the emission trade. There is an argument that the use of per capita emissions as a basis in the following Kyoto-type treaties can reduce the sense of inequality among developed and developing countries alike, as it can reveal inactivity and responsibilities among countries. Economists have also been trying to analyze the overall net benefit of Kyoto Protocol through cost-benefit analysis.
There is disagreement due to large uncertainties in economic variables. Some of the estimates indicate either that observing the Kyoto Protocol is more expensive than not observing the Kyoto Protocol or that the Kyoto Protocol has a marginal net benefit which exceeds the cost of simply adjusting to global warming. However, a study by De Leo et al (2001) found that “accounting only for local external costs, together with production costs, to identify energy strategies, compliance with the Kyoto Protocol would imply lower, not higher, overall costs. The international panel on climate change (IPCC) has indicated that in order to stabilise concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, emissions have to be reduced radically. Given its low emission targets, the protocol is scorned as environmentally ineffective its targets, so low that even if it is fully implemented, which is doubtful, they will not halt the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, let alone address climate change (Baker, 2006: 93). 14
Young (2003: 380) states that daunting problems exist with respect to conflicts over the initial allocation of the Kyoto targets with respect to non participation, enforcement and monitoring and in relation to the exploitation of numerous loopholes in the agreements. Some countries intend to use the inclusion of sequestration in the list of Kyoto mechanisms to argue that they need not take any steps to address climate change. “Canada for example, holds that the sequestration of carbon in its forests is sufficient to excuse them from making any substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”.
In September 2006, the Canadian environment Minister announced that Canada has no chance of meeting its Kyoto targets and has instead developed a “Clean Air Act” which attempts to curtail environmental emissions relative to the economic output of various industries. The bill however does not set short-term targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions and its regulations on large polluters do not take effect until 2010 (www. cbc. ca). The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has also been said to offer technology transfer as sufficient in itself without underlying reference to the real energy needs of developing countries.
Africa has qualified for only 18 out of the 708 approved projects so far. Climate change strategies need to accommodate a vision for energy efficient provision of electricity to developing countries whose latent demand is moving towards an increasing release in greenhouse gas emissions, exactly the opposite of the intentions the Kyoto principles. (www. oneworld. net) Emission trading has been subject to particularly strong criticism. For many environmentalists, emission trading breaches the principles of environmental integrity.
They argue that it involves allocating the right to pollute, via emission permits and turning pollution sources into tradable commodities (Baker, 2006: 92). The allocation of emissions permits at the international level also had some 15 unintended consequences. Choosing 1990 as the base year gave approximately 25% of the permits to the United States, an inappropriately large proportion to the countries in transition and relatively few to developing countries. This procedure actually rewards polluters for their past antisocial behaviour” (Young, 2003: 381) Baker (2006: 93) also argues that emission trading allows some countries to “reap large financial gains”. She gave an example with the Russian Federation who hope that having signed the Kyoto protocol, they benefit financially from the sale, especially to the EU of what has become known as “hot air” – that is, the excess emission allowances of Russia and other former communist countries.
This excess appeared when the collapse of their industrial production resulted in them not needing the amount of emissions that they were granted. The foregoing gives a summary of the criticisms of the Kyoto Mechanisms, targets and strategies which may hinder implementation. One of the greatest obstacles to Kyoto implementation however is the position of the United States of America (USA) who have, under the Bush administration, announced that although they have signed the protocol, they have no intention of ratifying it.
For the USA, the Kyoto protocol has three fundamental flaws which Baker, (2006: 87) summarised as follows: 1. 2. It does not oblige developing countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions It is proposing action ahead of further research. Building upon these objections, the Bush administration dissociated itself from the Kyoto protocol. The USA was particularly unimpressed with the exclusion of China and India from the list of Annex 1 countries for the first phase of the 16 protocol ending 2012. They were also concerned about the economic implications of Carbon dioxide emission cuts.
China is the second highest emitter of carbon dioxide next to the USA and according to some reports, has already overtaken the USA in volume of emissions due to its dominance of the manufacturing goods industry. Ironically though, in 2005, 14% of China? s emissions were discharged on goods destined for the USA where they could have been manufactured in more efficient factories and without transportation costs. On the other hand, India? s per capita carbon emissions are 1. 1 tonnes per annum against 20 tonnes in the USA. (www. oneworld. et) The US decision to pull out of Kiyoto however does not “doom the deal”. The European Union (EU) and many other industrialised countries have come on board and that gave the protocol enough support to come into force in 2005. Still, without significant action from the USA, Kyoto? s targets will be difficult to reach (www. oneworld. net) Cohen and Egelston (2003: 320) argue that “… as China develops economically, it is increasing its presence on the international stage and now challenges US interests on a broad range of issues.
In this context, the US rejection of the Kyoto protocol can be seen as part of a strategy to ensure that China gets no concessions that would enhance its comparative economic advantage” the USA has however developed a domestic “Blue Skies” policy to check climate change. On Tuesday 8th July 2008, President George Bush, to the relief of the G8 leaders, bowed to pressure from other world leaders and agreed to a long term target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The decision was made at the G8 meeting of industrialised nations which was held in Japan; to set a goal of halving emissions 7 by 2050 in line with scientific advice. Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) however warned that a long term goal was insufficient without shorter term commitments. No proposals on such short term goals were reached at the G8 meeting although it was generally agreed that they were necessary. (BUSINESSDAY, Friday 11th – Sunday 13th July 2008: pp 29) The European Union, (EU) has consistently been one of the major nominal supporters of the Kyoto Protocol, negotiating hard to get wavering countries on board.
On May 31, 2002, all fifteen then-members of the European Union deposited the relevant ratification paperwork at the UN. The EU produces around 22% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and has agreed to a cut, on average, by 8% from 1990 emission levels. On 10 January 2007, the European Commission announced plans for a European Union energy policy that included a unilateral 20% reduction in GHG emissions by 2020. In December 2002, the EU created an emissions trading system in an effort to meet these tough targets. Quotas were introduced in six key industries: energy, steel, cement, glass, brick making, and paper/cardboard.
There are also fines for member nations that fail to meet their obligations, starting at €40/ton of carbon dioxide in 2005, and rising to €100/ton in 2008. Current EU projections suggest that by 2008 the EU will be at 4. 7% below 1990 levels (www. wikipedia. com). This is a huge step in the right direction and if all developed countries could do likewise, the attainment of Kyoto targets will perhaps not seem so farfetched. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATONS The foregoing critiques and challenges make the prospects of implementing the Kyoto protocol seem bleak.
Indeed, for the Kyoto Protocol to work there must be a 18 concerted and collective action among both developed and developing nations because we are all stakeholders in the global battle against climate change. From all indications, the Kyoto protocol in its present state cannot do enough to curb emissions because even if all the developed countries comply as directed which is doubtful, rising emissions from currently excluded developing countries such as China, will more than neutralise whatever abatement is reached in the period before 2012.
The seriousness of the climate change debate informed the title of the 2007/2008 Human Development Report which has as its title, “Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World”. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in this report stated that stabilising greenhouse emissions to limit climate change is a worthwhile insurance strategy for the world as a whole. The report argued that the force of inertia has to be broken because “… ith climate change, every year of delay in reaching an agreement to cut emissions adds to greenhouse gas stocks, locking the future into a higher temperature” The major problem according to the UNDP, is that the world lacks a clear, credible and long – term multilateral framework that charts a course for avoiding dangerous climate change. They further stated that with the expiry of the current commitment period of the Kyoto protocol in 2012, the international community has an opportunity to put that framework in place. (UNDP, 2007:11-12).
The Human Development Report advocated strategies for mitigation against climate change for the post 2012 Kyoto commitment period. These strategies (for both developed and developing countries) involve transforming the way that we produce and use energy as well as living within the bounds of ecological 19 sustainability. They must also be backed by clear policies by the government. The strategies are summarised as follows: (UNDP, 2007: 20-23) 1. Setting ambitions targets for mitigation and translating targets into policies 2. Putting a price on carbon emissions and developing realistic carbon pricing structures 3.
Enhanced energy efficiency using government incentives to encourage innovations 4. Regulating transportation especially in the automobile sector which accounts for about 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries. This also includes expanding markets for alternative fuels such as ethanol. 5. Carbon capture and storage (CCS): This is a key breakthrough technology which attempts to use coal fired power generation with near-zero emissions. This will not only improve efficiency but with the near worldwide availability, it could generate large gains for human development especially in the developing world. . Reducing deforestation internationally: Bearing in mind that the loss of forests represents the erosion of a resource that plays a vital role in the lives of the poor, in the provision of ecosystem services and in sustaining biodiversity. To summarise, the Kyoto protocol encourages governments to cooperate with one another so as to improve energy efficiency, reform the energy and transportation sectors, promote renewable forms of energy, phase out inappropriate fiscal measures and market imperfections and protect forests and other carbon sinks. 0 Both developed and developing countries also have to take measures to limit emissions and promote adaptation to future climate change impacts, submit information on their national climate change programmes, promote technology transfer, cooperate on scientific and technical research and promote public awareness, education and training. The protocol also reiterates the need to provide new and additional financial resources to meet costs incurred by developing countries in carrying out those commitments (www. europa. eu).
The challenges of implementing the Kyoto protocol are many and the prospects seem unrealistic especially for the period before 2012. Unfortunately, those who are largely responsible for much of the emissions causing global warming seem to be the least affected on the short run. Far reaching effects of global change require that a joint effort by all the world? s nations such as is attempted by the Kyoto protocol is necessary to save the earth. At the national level, Nigerians must be made aware of the dangers of climate change.
Policies should be made and enforced to ensure more climate friendly means of oil exploration that will reduce gas flaring, oil spillage and other attendant environmental ills. The power sector crises should be addressed so as to reduce the usage of carbon dioxide emitting power generating sets. Legislation should also be made to stop the importation of old transportation vehicles without catalytic converters. These converters reduce the toxic nature of vehicular emissions and make them more environment friendly.
More efficient means of mass transportation such as the railways should be developed so as to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Forests should also be conserved and the use of firewood, discouraged. 21 These climate friendly measures will not only ensure sustainable development by helping to preserve our environment and our health but will also prepare the country for the 2012 post Kyoto period when Nigeria might well be placed on emissions reduction bearing in mind our ambitious target to be one of the 20 most industrialised nations of the world come 2020.
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