Australia Confirms Joining Kyoto Protocol Agreement Phase 2

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 9, 2012 12:39 PM EST

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has confirmed Australia will join the Kyoto 2, the second commitment period of the global Kyoto protocol agreement.

The renewed commitment, which puts Australia along the ranks of European Union and several other major greenhouse gas emitters, requires and pushes the resource-rich nation to cut its greenhouse emissions by five per cent by 2020.

"Today I can announce that Australia is ready to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto protocol," Mr Combet addressed a carbon expo in Melbourne on Friday.

"While Australia is doing our fair share, we expect the same from others. The Kyoto Protocol is not enough on its own. It will cover less than 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and only from developed countries."

Due to expire at the end of this year, the first Kyoto Protocol agreement was negotiated by countries in 1997 and mainly targeted wealthy nations, requiring them to limit their emission of greenhouse gases. It was also considered the only ratified international treaty limiting greenhouse gases.

However, under the first treaty, developing nations such as China and India, now considered the heaviest emitters of fossil fuel emissions, were excluded. The earlier version effectively allowed the poorest nations to evade commitments and regulations on coal burning emissions while the industrialised nations take up most of the burden to clean up the atmosphere.

To be effective, the new 2015 agreement needs to cover all the major emissions sources, Mr Combet said.

"From 2020 we expect all countries, including the United States, the European Union, China, Japan, India, Indonesia and South Korea, will be part of a new agreement to reduce emissions," he said.

"This will bring all countries onto the same legal platform to reduce emissions."

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