Climate Change Agreements Applicable to Ireland
The Kyoto protocol is an agreement by 37 industrialised countries and the European Community which sets legal requirements to reduce GHG emissions. The Kyoto Protocol was established on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto Japan. It took 8 years to come into force which occurred on 16 February 2005. The first commitment started in 2008 and ended in 2012, it set out to reduce GHG emissions by 5% from 1990 levels.Europe over achieved on these requirements and were 21.6% lower than the 1990 required levels. The second commitment period spans from 2013 to 2020 and seeks to reduce GHG for European countries by at least 20% below the 1990 levels.
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was the world’s only legally binding agreement to cut GHG emissions before 2020. Many of the world’s largest contributors of GHG emissions are not part of the agreement. The Kyoto Protocol only covers an estimated 20% of global emissions. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international agreement associated with the Kyoto protocol. The UNFCCC was first introduced in 1992 and was the main international treaty to fight climate change. The main difference between UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, previous to 2015 was the Kyoto protocol has a legally binding power to commit industrialised countries to cut GHG emissions and the UNFCCC did not have this power.
The Paris agreement was adopted in December 2015 under the UNFCCC with its main aim to stop:
The increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognising this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
The Paris agreement is the first ever universally legally binding climate change agreement. The agreement is due to be enacted in 2020.