Bali climate meeting: new environmental pact in focus

10 years after Kyoto became a byword for climate change action, 200 countries are gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali to thrash out a new blueprint to reduce emissions.

The Kyoto Treaty was designed to be a firm and binding commitment by developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but success appears limited at best.

Thirty six industrialised nations have agreed to observe emission caps from the beginning of next year through to 2012 when the protocol expires, but critics say the last 10 years of Kyoto have been a failure.

They point out that 139 other countries have no emission restrictions and that by setting the base year for comparison at 1990 it creates an artificial impression of improvement.

Greenhouse emissions have dropped markedly in the former Eastern block countries since then but this is largely down to the collapse of the Soviet Union, which shut down thousands of factories across the region.

Sign urging Bush to sign Kyoto Protocol
Sign urging Bush to sign Kyoto Protocol

Fast-developing nations like India and China are now polluting more than ever before and the world’s biggest culprit, the United States has refused to ratify the Treaty at all.

But many UN observers are hopeful that the developed countries committed to Kyoto will ease the problem by meeting their emissions cuts over the next five years.

Russia is one of them.  It was its ratification in 2004 that finally gave the treaty enough support to come into force and it’s reaping the benefits. As more companies develop green technology, it should mean not only cleaner air but bigger profits.

Russian businesses are developing a number of joint implementation projects, designed to reduce greenhouse gas release, which are highly marketable internationally.

“There is a huge potential and if these projects are implemented they generate CO2 and other greenhouse gases emission reduction they can be sold to public and private buyers who have their own commitments or maybe who are intermediaries and just co-operate on this market,” said Nina Korobova, MD Global Carbon.