Global climate change is not a problem of one generation or one nation. This is a problem of every one on the Earth. At present people of the planet, facing the threat of global catastrophe realized that their future depends on themselves.
It is clear that climate change is a challenge global in every respect.
On the one hand, the antropogenic process of climate system dibalancing has a global character, its impacts will influence every country, every man.
On the second hand, every country and every separate man make their contribution to the process. It means that the cause and the effect concern everybody.
And, on the third hand, the challenge must be addressed by the whole world. It requires global efforts and global coordination
In December 1988, considering the strategy of climate change policy, the UN General Assembly approved establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In 1989 during the annual meeting heads of the seven democratic states acknowledged the necessity of a world convention on global climate change to assure reduction of human-made greenhouse gases emissions.
In 1992 in Rio-de-Janeiro at the Conference on Environment and Development the Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed. The Convention was the result of the mutual admission of climate change challenge and of the necessity to combat it. The Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994. The Convention has been ratified by more than 150 countries of the world.
According to article 2, the ultimate goal of the UNFCCC is to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous antropogenic interference with the climate system. The level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.
After the UNFCCC was created and adopted it became evident that the principles provided for in the Convention should be implemented.
In this respect in December 1997 in Kyoto (Japan) the countries of the world community elaborated an epoch-making agreement on control of atmospheric greenhouse gases emissions, which cause global warming. The basis of this agreement was a voluntary and legally non-binding statement of the most powerful industrialized countries of their intention to reduce by the year 2000 the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere to the levels of 1990 emissions. To provide a strong ecological and economic basis for this agreement, three main goals were formulated:
- To set real dates and indices of greenhouse gas emissions for participating countries.
- To use flexible market mechanisms rather than "compulsory patterns and measures", such as a tax on carbon dioxide emissions.
- To achieve serious involvement of developing countries.
In the framework of international negotiation process goal 3 is the most interesting for us: Global warming is a mutual challenge, requiring global solution - and not only developed, but also the key countries with developing and transitional economy, should participate in the process. The discussions prior to the Kyoto Conference were not very successful, and the most difficult matters were solved only during the last days and even hours of the Conference.
The disagreements among the participants were numerous and were mainly related to the following three issues:
"Definition of the amount of compulsory reductions of greenhouse gases and identification of the gases which are subject to compulsory reduction" or "Definition of the need to apply the requirements of atmospheric emissions limitation to developing countries", "Definition of the necessity of introducing a system of trade in emission allowances that may include joint projects with the off-set of the quotas that would allow that country contributing to emission reduction in other countries to gain off-sets for theses activities instead of achieving more expensive reductions within its own territory".
In this manner, the decisions of the Kyoto Protocol have supported the approach ofenabling developing countries to continue economic development, but this development has to be on an ecologically grounded and economically sustainable basis due to the use of the advantages of technologies not available in developed countries in the early period of their industrial development.
Participating countries agreed that at the present stage of discussions they would set limitations only for industrially developed countries. In the end of the discussions they established a list of "Annex 1 countries" which agreed to undertake legally binding limitations on atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases. Developing countries were referred to "the countries not belonging to Annex 1". Eventually the decisions of the Protocol indicate that the Annex 1 countries must - on an individual or collective basis - provide conditions when the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by these countries does not exceed the amounts set for every country in Annex B. It seeks to provide conditions under which total amount of greenhouse gases emitted by Annex 1 members would achieve a level at least 59% lower than 1990 levels during the 2008 - 2012 time period. Annex A includes six main greenhouse gases covered by the agreement.
Even without serious involvement of developing countries, costs can be cut considerably due to trading of atmospheric emissions quotas in these countries. An example of opportunities to raise energy effectiveness can be Russia and Ukraine, which consume six times more energy per one dollar of produced commodity than the United States. Such a big gap in the indices of energy resource utilization in different countries provides grounds to consider that if these countries use technologies existing in the USA, they will achieve significant reduction in the atmospheric emissions.
The Kyoto Protocol is an epoch-making event, but it is only the first step of the long process