While 102 countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol to date, it is Russia that will determine when, or if, the Protocol comes into force. Recent media reports have indicated that a decision is forthcoming, but little seems to be happening in the Russian bureaucracy or Parliament to indicate significant progress on this front.
Timing is critical in this regard. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, will likely have to call an election in the late summer or early fall. If ratification does not occur prior the election, it could end up delayed indefinitely.
The Kyoto Protocol requires two conditions be met for it to enter into force. First, 55 countries must ratify the Protocol. This was achieved last year. Second, ratifying governments must be represented by developed countries responsible for a minimum of 55 per cent of 1990 CO2 emissions.
Currently, developed country ratifications account for 43.9 per cent of 1990 CO2 emissions. There are several smaller, mostly industrialized countries, and countries with economies in transition, in the process of ratification. The total emissions for which they account are not enough to reach the needed 55 per cent of developed country emissions.
The Sixteenth Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies (SB-16)
The Sixteenth Sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB-16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were the first subsidiary sessions in eight years that were not dominated by negotiation of either the Kyoto Protocol or the details amplifying its structure and operation. Instead, delegates met for a new phase of negotiations, focusing on the implementation of the Marrakesh Accords agreed upon at COP-7 in November 2001 and issues under the UNFCCC. After the tension of previous years, particularly the last year in the wake of the U.S. renunciation of the Protocol, this latest session proved less energized and focused.
There were substantive negotiations, however, involving the processes of the UNFCCC, particularly reporting obligations among Parties, coordination with other international bodies and financial arrangements. Other key items discussed included: Canada's appeal for COP-8 to consider its proposal for a Clean Energy Exports allowance; transparency and participation in UNFCCC processes, especially the CDM Executive Board; the characterization of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR); and forestry issues under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
Also discussed were the financial mechanism, technology transfer, the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG), capacity building and the relationship between efforts to protect the ozone layer and climate change. Delegates debated national policies and measures and discussed a work program on UNFCCC Article 6 (education, training and public awareness). In addition, participants agreed on text for conclusions on the implementation of Protocol Article 2.3 (adverse effects of policies and measures). Parties also considered preparations for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in August/September 2002.
Briefs on these issues can be found by clicking the links to the left.
For information on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol negotiations from COP-1 through COP-6, see the Compendium's Backgrounder.
For information on COP-6, through the resumed session see, Climate Change Negotiations Since COP-6.
Also check out the report on COP-6 Part II: The Bonn Agreement and the report on COP-7.