Australia Dropping the Second Commitment Period?

~by Joe Perullo

In a contact group for the Kyoto Protocol, Australia announced that it has not yet taken a decision on taking on the second commitment period (CP2). This would be the third country to not adopt the second commitment period, after Japan and Russia. note: The US never ratified the KP and Canada dropped out of it completely. Staying in the KP but not adopting the second commitment period means that these parties can participate in the KP negotiations but have no obligation to its mandate of emission reductions. Australia said that whether or not it joins CP2, it will participate in KP discussion constructively. Constructive for who?

Australia said it didn’t know where it put its target: in the KP or the Convention (LCA), as if it was a choice. This is particularly dangerous since developed countries may win in the LCA discussions, deleting much of its commitments to equity.

Australia defended itself, mentioning its faith in market based mechanisms. It claimed that it will soon have a price on carbon, which was a hard fought domestic reform passed in legislation. “We will soon transition to a cap and trade scheme. It will decouple our prosperity from pollution. Cap and trade will deliver us to make our targets—a 23 percent decline in emissions.” This reduction in emissions is very unlikely with simply market mechanisms.

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