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~ Compliance Contents~

Compliance with G8 Commitments:
From Birmingham 1998 to Köln 1999

Compliance Studies by Issue Area:
Climate Change

Commitment 1

11. "...[we] confirm the intention of the rest of us to sign it [the Kyoto Protocol] within the next year"

The Russia and the United States were the only two countries that had not signed the Kyoto Protocol at the time of the Birmingham Summit in 1998.

Russia: Score: +1

On March 11, 1999 Russia signed the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol includes binding emissions targets for developed countries and provides innovative, market-based measures for achieving those reductions in a cost-effective manner. Signing the Protocol reflects Russia's commitment to work with other countries to fight climate change.

United States: Score: +1

During the Buenos Aires conference, on November 12, 1998, the United States signed the Kyoto Protocol at the United Nations in New York. Signing the Protocol reaffirms the United State's commitment to work with other nations to meet the Protocol's goals, however, signing does not impose an obligation on the United States to implement the Kyoto Protocol. President Clinton has stated that he will not submit the Protocol to the U.S Senate without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change.

Commitment 2

11. "[we] resolve to make an urgent start on the further work that is necessary to ratify and make Kyoto a reality." To this end: "...we will work further on flexible mechanisms such as international market-based emissions trading, joint implementation and the clean development mechanism, and on sinks. We aim to draw up rules and principles that will ensure an enforceable, accountable,verifiable open and transparent trading system and an effective compliance regime."

The Buenos Aires Action Plan on climate change concluded by 180 countries at the fourth Conference of the Parties (COP) held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on November 2-13, was an important step forward in global efforts to address climate change. The participation of all G8 countries at Buenos Aires demonstrates compliance with their commitment to combat climate change made at the Birmingham Summit.

The parties agreed to a two year plan for advancing the agenda outlined in the Kyoto Protocol. In the Buenos Aires action plan, the parties agreed to reach decisions by the end of 2000 on a number of key issues which included:

Moreover, the parties also decided to continue the Activities Implemented Jointly pilot phase for emissions reduction and carbon sink activities which allows the least developed countries additional opportunities to develop projects and gain experience that will enable them to increasingly participate in the Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism.

In addition, the parties also agreed to define, measure and verify categories of carbon sinks and they have instructed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to undertake a comprehensive study on land-use, land-use change, and forestry activities which is to be completed by the Spring 2000.

Thus, the Buenos Aires conference provided countries with significant direction to move forward on the issue of climate change. The Buenos Aires Action Plan sets a firm deadline for adopting rules on emissions trading and other market-based tools agreed to in Kyoto that will enable countries to meet environmental targets faster and at less cost. Since all G8 countries adopted this plan of action at Buenos Aires, I have given each country a grade of +1.

France Score: +1 Germany Score: +1
Canada Score: +1 Japan Score: +1
United States Score: +1 Russia Score: +1
Italy Score: +1 Britain Score: +1

Reports produced by Litza Smirnakis

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