India to ratify Doha pact, sends powerful political signal to developed world

New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Setting an example for other nations, especially the first world, to contain global warming, India on Tuesday approved the ratification of the Doha Amendment that binds certain developed countries to reduce their emissions of Green House Gases (GHGs) till 2020.

The decision to meet the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was taken by the Union cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Kyoto Protocol, that was adopted in 1997 and came into force in February 2005, is an international agreement under United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which binds a certain group of “developed countries” (listed under Annexe-I) of its total 192 parties to reduce their emissions.

While the landmark Paris climate change agreement — COP21, that entered into force in November 2016 (during COP22), is for the post-2020 period, the Kyoto Protocol is like the pre-2020 agenda to contain climate change.

“In view of the critical role played by India in securing international consensus on climate change issues, this decision further underlines India’s leadership… to global cause of environmental protection and climate justice,” an official statement said.

India ratifying the Kyoto Protocol will also encourage other developing countries to follow suit.

The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol was between 2008 to 2012 and the second period — the Doha Amendment — which was adopted in 2012, was to enter in action in 2013 to 2020. It is yet to enter into force as it requires 144 ratifications out of the 192 parties to the Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol is the commitment of the developed countries — the major cause of global warming due to their higher emissions, to bring these down.

However, unlike the Paris Agreement, the Kyoto Protocol does not bind its “developing parties or counties” like India and China (based on the per capita emission) into any kind of obligation to reduce the emissions or set any targets. The targets are only applicable to the less than 40 countries listed in Annexe-I.

The US, which amounts for about 17 per cent of global emissions (the highest), was among the first developed countries to oppose the Kyoto Protocol and has not signed it yet. Canada, following the US, has also withdrawn from the Protocol.

Experts see India’s move as a step to build pressure on the developed countries to operationalise the Doha Amendment.

During the first commitment period of the Protocol (2008-12), 37 industrialised countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to around five per cent against the 1990 levels.

Under the Doha Amendment, which should’ve become operational on January 1, 2013, the obligated parties are required to work towards reducing the GHC emissions by at least 18 per cent below 1990 levels, till 2020 before the Paris Agreement kicks in. Parties are also supposed to report a revised list of the GHCs during second commitment period.

Meanwhile, in absence of any global binding committments since 2013, the year 2016 was the warmest so far, followed by 2015 and 2014.

–IANS

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