• The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its Parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets.
  • Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”
  • The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.
  • The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh, Morocco, in 2001, and are referred to as the “Marrakesh Accords.”
  • Its first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.

Doha Amendment:

  • In Doha, Qatar, on 8 December 2012, the “Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol” was adopted.
  • The amendment includes:
  • New commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020;
  • A revised list of greenhouse gases (GHG) to be reported on by Parties in the second commitment period; and
  • Amendments to several articles of the Kyoto Protocol which specifically referenced issues pertaining to the first commitment period and which needed to be updated for the second commitment period.
  • During the first commitment period, 37 industrialized countries and the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to an average of five percent against 1990 levels.
  • During the second commitment period, Parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020; however, the composition of Parties in the second commitment period is different from the first.

Kyoto Mechanism:

  • Under the Protocol, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures.
  • However, the Protocol also offers them an additional means to meet their targets by way of three market -based mechanisms.
  • The Kyoto mechanisms are:
  1. International Emissions Trading
  2. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
  3. Joint implementation (JI)


  • The Kyoto Protocol, like the Convention, is also designed to assist countries in adapting to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • It facilitates the development and deployment of technologies that can help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.
  • The Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.
  • In the first commitment period, the Fund was financed mainly with a share of proceeds from CDM project activities.
  • In Doha, in 2012, it was decided that for the second commitment period, international emissions trading and joint implementation would also provide the Adaptation Fund with a 2 percent share of proceeds.

Negotiations timeline

  • 1979 — The first World Climate Conference takes place.
  • 1988 — The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is set up. .
  • 1990 — The IPCC and the second World Climate Conference call for a global treaty on climate change. The United Nations General Assembly negotiations on a framework convention begin.
  • 1991 — First meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee takes place.
  • 1992 —At the Earth Summit in Rio, the UNFCCC is opened for signature along with its sister Rio Conventions, the UN Convention on Biological Diversityand the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
  • 1994 — The UNFCCC enters into force.
  • 1995 — The first Conference of the Parties (COP 1) takes place in Berlin.
  • 1996 — The UNFCCC Secretariatis set up to support action under the Convention.
  • 1997 — The Kyoto Protocolis formally adopted in December at COP3.
  • 2001 — The Marrakesh Accordsare adopted at COP7, detailing the rules for implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, setting up new funding and planning instruments for adaptation, and establishing a technology transfer framework.
  • 2005 — Entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. The first Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (MOP 1) takes place in Montreal. In accordance with Kyoto Protocol requirements, Parties launched negotiations on the next phase of the KP under the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP). What was to become the Nairobi Work Programme on Adaptation(it would receive its name in 2006, one year later) is accepted and agreed on.
  • 2007 — The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report is released. Climate science entered into popular consciousness. At COP13, Parties agreed on the Bali Road Map, which charted the way towards a post-2012 outcome in two work streams: the AWG-KP, and another under the Convention, known as the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action Under the Convention. 
  • 2009 — Copenhagen Accord drafted at COP15 in Copenhagen. Countries later submitted emissions reductions pledges or mitigation action pledges, all non-binding.
  • 2010 — Cancun Agreementsdrafted and largely accepted by the COP, at COP16. Through the Agreements, countries made their emission reduction pledges official, in what was the largest collective effort the world has ever seen to reduce emissions in a mutually accountable way.
  • 2011 — The Durban Platformfor Enhanced Action drafted and accepted by the COP, at COP17. In Durban, governments clearly recognized the need to draw up the blueprint for a fresh universal, legal agreement to deal with climate change beyond 2020, where all will play their part to the best of their ability and all will be able to reap the benefits of success together.
  • 2012 – TheDoha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol is adopted by the CMP at CMP8. The amendment includes: new commitments for Annex I Parties to the Kyoto Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020; a revised list of greenhouse gases to be reported on by Parties in the second commitment period; and amendments to several articles of the Kyoto Protocol pertaining to the first commitment period and which needed to be updated for the second commitment period.
  • 2013 – Key decisions adopted at COP19/CMP9 include decisions on further advancing the Durban Platform, the Green Climate Fund and Long-Term Finance, the Warsaw Framework for REDD Plus and the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. More on the Warsaw Outcomes.
  • 2014 – COP20 was held in December in Lima, Peru

The 20th Climate Change Conference (COP20) concluded in Peru on 14 December. More than 190 countries, despite the complexity of negotiations, reached what has been labeled a watered-down agreement to combat climate change in the sense that the global agreement was not blocked, and that a door has been left open to continue working on the unfinished issues.

Following are the five key issues from the Lima Call for Climate Action, worth to be followed during 2015 Road to Paris:

  1. For the first time, an agreement was reached in which all countries will specify their objectives, if they are ready, and they will submit their CO2 emissions information by March 2015 (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions).
  2. A controversial issue which affected negotiations between developed and developing countries was the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR). COP20 was unable to define how the emissions reductions would be distributed among the countries. This issue will be addressed at COP21 in Paris.
  3. The agreement reached is in line with the work that began at COP17 in Durban. The focus in Lima was more global and did not address individual countries’ development. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, which involved developed countries only, this is an inclusive agreement that applies to all countries.
  4. Funding for the Green Climate Fund slightly exceeded the target, reaching 10.2 billion dollars. The fund will enable developing countries to apply a range of technologies to combat climate change. There are also plans to roll out a Private Sector Facility in 2015 to ensure that private sector entities can be accredited and access the fund.
  5. The implementation of a new framework for Measurement, Reporting and Verification. The first Multilateral Assessment was held in Lima, providing greater transparency for actions by developed countries, as they can compare their degree of compliance with the emission reduction goals.

Not much progress was achieved in the main line of negotiations; discussions continue to be hampered by issues of fairness, and the main text, which was promising at first, was devalued by the time an agreement was reached. There are issues pending resolution, but a global agreement was reached for the first time.

  India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution: At a Glance 

·         India has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Some of the salient points of the INDC are:

·         To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.

·         To adopt a climate-friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.

·         To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 from 2005 level.

·         To achieve about 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance, including from Green Climate Fund.

·         To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

·         To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.

·         To mobilize domestic and new and additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.

·         To build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.

  • 2015 – COP21 or CMP11 will be held in Paris, France in December.

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