Kyoto - the next nine steps

Posted: 14 February 2005

The Kyoto Protocol on climate change comes into force this week. But, says the conservation organisation WWF, countries need to take another nine steps to make the Protocol the success that the world needs to avoid dangerous levels of greenhouse warming.

Delta Power Station, fueled by coal, Mount Piper, New South Wales, Australia© WWF-Canon / Adam Oswell
This danger level is recognised by the EU and other key players as a rise of the average global temperature of 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

According to WWF, to keep global warming beneath that 2°C ceiling industrialised countries must slash CO2 emissions by 80 per cent by mid-century, with global emissions cut by 50 per cent over the same period. Currently the Kyoto Protocol asks industrialised countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.

"While it is a big step forward, the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol is just the first step in containing the threat of climate change," said Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF's Global Climate Change Programme. "To make the intentions of the Kyoto Protocol come true much more effort will have to go into reducing emissions - and governments will have to take the lead."

Power sector

WWF has drawn up nine steps that governments need to take for Kyoto to be a success. These include more ambitious policies to ensure countries meet their Kyoto targets, particularly in the power sector, as well as making the right investment and policy decisions now to set the world on a downward emissions trend.

WWF also believes that the Kyoto Protocol must provide the basis for agreements beyond 2012, the end of the agreement's current period.

"The entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol starts a new market revolution - the carbon market," said Morgan. "Gone are the days when companies and countries could emit CO2 and not think about it. From now on the switch from coal to clean power should become the norm."

"During the next commitment period beginning in 2012 the Kyoto Club must be the driving force and set even more ambitious targets. The Kyoto Protocol must mark the beginning of the transformation needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, building upon its momentum and not the irresponsible approaches of the Bush administration. The European Union must proactively work with developing countries to create new alliances for change."

WWF supports parties to the Kyoto Protocol, such as the EU, in increasing pressure on the private sector to further invest in clean energy. Its recently launched PowerSwitch! campaign promotes energy efficiency and encourages electricity companies to make the switch from polluting fuels to renewable energy sources. The global power sector accounts for 37 per cent of all energy-related CO2 emissions. In summary, the nine steps recommended by the WWF are: more ambitious policies to reduce CO2 emissions; targeting of the power sector to reduce its share of such emissions; strenthening of the EU emissions trading system through stronger limits on emissions and better incentives; encouraging developing nations to use clean technology solutions; developing renewable energy sources and energy efficient solutions everywhere; increasing pressure on the United States and Australia to cut emissions, even though they remain outside of Kyoto; supporting poorer countries in dealing with the impact of climate change; committing governments and international bodies to the 2°C ceiling on global warming compared to pre-industrial times; and, planning by the Kyoto Club for what comes after the initial commitment period, which ends in 2012.

Related links:

The document, Nine Steps to Make Kyoto a Success can be found at WWF Nine Steps

For more information on WWF's Global Climate Change Programme go toWWF PowerSwitch