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The Kyoto Protocol The KYOTO-PROTOCOL
International Climate Policy for the 21st Century

Sebastian Oberthür, Hermann E. Ott

Foreword by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker

Springer-Verlag, Berlin
ISBN 354066470X
359 pages

This book THE KYOTO-PROTOCOL provides a comprehensive analysis of the history and content of the Kyoto Protocol itself as well as of the economic, political and legal implications of its implementation. It also presents a perspective for the further development of the climate regime.

The adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in December 1997 was a significant achievement in the endeavour to tackle the problem of global climate change at the dawn of the 21st century. After many years of involvement in the negotiation process, the book now offers the international community a perspective on the debate on the Kyoto Protocol. The book provides a comprehensive analysis of the history and content of the Protocol itself as well as of the economic, political and legal implications of its implementation.
It also presents a perspective for the further development of the climate regime. These features make this book useful for policy makers, negotiators, academics and those involved and interested in climate change issues in both the developed and developing world.

See as well the article "Breaking the Impasse: Forging an EU Leadership Initiative on Climate Change", which is a short version of the latest book's chapter.

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Dr. SEBASTIAN OBERTHÜR is a Senior Fellow at Ecologic, Centre for International and European Environmental Research in Berlin. His work focuses on issues of international environmental and climate policy with special emphasis on international environmental agreements and institutions.

Dr. HERRMAN E. OTT was trained as a professional lawyer and political scientist in Munich, London and Berlin. As Acting Head of the Climate Policy Division of the Wuppertal Institute , he works extensively on the legal, political and economic aspects of climate change as well as on other fields of environmental protection.

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" This is a timely and most welcome book. Shortly before the turn of the century, two experts on the political and legal dimensions of international environmental negotiations present a comprehensive and concise commentary on the Kyoto Protocol and the prospects for international climate policy. This treaty, adopted in December 1997, attempts to reverse the trend towards rising emissions of green-house gases and presents one of the most astounding achievements in interna-tional environmental policy.

Let us remember a few facts. Since the discovery of the man-made greenhouse effect more than a hundred years ago, the world has embarked on a large-scale "experiment" with nature and the global climate. This experiment is irreversible in human time-scales and is certainly one of the biggest threats to civilisation and the lives of many million people. Our civilisation can be traced back by about 10,000 years - exactly those 10,000 years that were characterised by a pretty stable global climate. Now we are endangering this stability, with unpredictable consequences for the lives of our children and grandchildren. "The authors explore the possibilities for a Leadership Initiative that may form the basis for a renewed effort to breath life into the Kyoto Protocol"

The immediate danger has been apparent for some 20 years now. The challenge: to reduce the world-wide emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels and other sources by about 60% until the middle of the next century. A tremendous task! But it can be done, as has been shown by numerous scientists and engineers around the world. The solution: the switch to clean energy derived mainly from renewable energy sources like solar, wind, bio-mass and hydro-power, coupled with a revolution in energy and resource efficiency by a factor of four and more. This is what I call the "efficiency revolution". In our Book "Factor Four", Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins and I have provided some 50 examples of how this could be achieved even today.

At present, many factors impede the efficiency revolution, although it would come at no cost and, in many cases, be quite profitable. Some of the main reasons are the structural deficits of our energy systems, our infrastructure (transportation, for example!) and our predominant production and consumption patterns. To change these deficiencies is not easy, because it requires foresight and long-term planning. Politicians are usually not well equipped to deal with challenges of this kind, because they are more interested in short-term results.
"This book ... certainly belongs in the hands of everyone interested in climate policy and, indeed, in the fate of our planet at the turn of the century." Therefore, it is all the more remarkable that the world community unanimously adopted the Kyoto Protocol in December 1997. This is an attempt at long-term planning by politicians very long-term, that is to say, as it will occupy humankind for the greatest part of the next century! Everybody involved in the negotiations deserves praise for the relentless efforts to put together what has been termed "the most complicated non-military agreement ever". World leaders like Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin and the former Chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl were directly involved and pushed for compromise.
In its first part, this book helps us to understand all the intricacies of the negotiations, describes the actors and carefully unveils the many compromises that led to agreement. It is quite fascinating to watch the picture unfold. I am sure that even those who were directly involved will enjoy refreshing their memories and might learn a lot. The authors were present at the formal as well as at many informal meetings and have gained a wealth of insights which they present in a comprehensive manner.

The second part of the book is devoted to explaining the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol itself. Everyone interested in climate policy will find important insights in this comprehensive commentary, whether an interested layman, an academic or directly involved in the upcoming negotiations. The authors shed light on the ambiguities of many provisions, offer guidance for their interpretation and provide a far-reaching outlook on the "unfinished business" that Kyoto left for future rounds of negotiations.

Lastly, the authors take us into the next century. They draw important lessons from the factors that shaped the outcome in Kyoto, undertake a careful evaluation of the Protocol and present a picture of the political landscape after the adoption of the treaty. Most importantly, however, the authors make an attempt to explore the possibilities for a Leadership Initiative that may form the basis for a renewed effort to breath life into the Kyoto Protocol.

This book is characterised by a unique combination of diligence, compre-hensiveness and creativity. Were it on a different topic, I would say it belongs in every household. As it stands, it certainly belongs in the hands of everyone interested in climate policy and, indeed, in the fate of our planet at the turn of the century.

Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker
President, Wuppertal Institute
July 1999

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1. The science of climate change
1.1 The Intergovernmenal Panel on Climate Change
1.2 Causes and Effects
1.3 Climate Sceptics
1.4 Acting under Uncertainty

2. Key players and interests
2.1 Industrialised Leader: The European Union
2.2 Industrialised Laggards: "JUSSCANNZ"
2.3 Russia and the "Countries with Economies in Transition"
2.4 The Developing World: A Crumbling Block
2.5 Non-Governmental and International Organisations

3. The Framework Convention on Climate Change: The legal basis of international action
3.1 Objective, Principles and Obligations
3.2 Institutional and Procedural Predeterminations
3.3 Development of the Convention

4. The Berlin mandate and the AGBM process
4.1 The Run-up to Berlin
4.2 The Berlin Mandate
4.3 The Issues
4.4 The AGBM Process: The First Year
4.5 Increasing the Pressure; The Geneva Convention
4.6 Approaching Kyoto

5. Outside the Climate Arena: Multilateral and Bilateral Diplomacy
5.1 International Organisations
5.2 Rio + 5: UNGASS
5.3 Regional Developments
5.4 Bilateral Diplomacy

6. Changing the Balance: Governmental and Non-governmental Developments
6.1 Strengthening EU Leadership 6.2 Developments in the US
6.3 Entrenching Positions: Other JUSSCANZ Countries
6.4 Business: Some Going Dirty
6.5 ... Others Going Green
6.6 Environmental NGOs

7. Kyoto - The Endgame
7.1 Japan
7.2 The Dynamics of the Kyoto Meeting
7.3 Modern Communication Technologies
7.4 The "Estrada Factor"
7.5 Approaching the Final Show-down
7.6 Negotiation by Exhaustion


8. Overview of Part II

9. Preamble and Definitions (Article 1)
9.1 Preamble
9.2 Definitions

10. Policies and Measures (Article 2)
10.1 Negotiating History
10.2 PAMs in the Kyoto Protocol
10.3 Assessment and Outlook

11. Emission Limitation and Reduction Commitments (Article 3)
11.1 Negotiating History
11.2 The Kyoto Targets: What are the Limits to Emissions?
11.3 The Issue of Sinks (Land-use Change and Forestry)
11.4 Assessment and Outlook

12. Joint Fulfilment of Commitments (Article 4)
12.1 Negotiating History
12.2 The Rules Applying to Bubbling
12.3 Post-Kyoto Developments in the European Union
12.4 Assessment and Outlook

13. Joint Implementation (Article 6)
13.1 Negotiating History
13.2 The Rules Applying to Joint Implementation
13.3 Assessment and Outlook

14. The Clean Development Mechanism (Article 12)
14.1 Negotiating History
14.2 The Rules Applying to the CDM
14.3 Assessment and Outlook

15. Emissions Trading (Article 17)
15.1 Negotiating History
15.2 The Rules Applying to Emissions Trading
15.3 Assessment and Outlook

16. Implementation Revies and Compliance (Articles 5, 7, 8, 16, 18, 19)
16.1 The Review of NAtional Communications (Articles 5, 7, 8)
16.2 The Multilateral Consultive Process (Article 16)
16.3 The Procedure on Non-compliance (Article 18)
16.4 Dispute Settlement (Article 19)

17. Developing Country Participation (Articles 10, 11)
17.1 Negotiating History
17.2 The Outcome: Articles 10 and 11 of the Kyoto Protocol
17.3 Assessment and Outlook

18. Institutions (Article 13, 14, 15)
18.1 Negotiating History
18.2 The Conference of the Parties Serving as the Meeting of the Parties (COP/MOP) (Article 13)
18.3 The Secreteriat (Article 14)
18.4 The Subsidiay Bodies (Article 15)
18.5 "Ad Hoc"-Bodies

19. Review, Development and Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol (Articles 3.9, 9, 20, 21)
19.1 Negotiating History
19.2 The Rules Applying to the Review and Development
19.3 Amendments to the Protocol and its Annexes
19.4 Assessment and Outlook

20. Final Provisions of the Kyoto Protocol (Articles 22-28)
20.1 Signature, Ratification and Entry into Force (Articles 24, 25)
20.2 Voting Rights, Depositary, Reservations and Withdrawal (Articles 22, 23, 26, 27 and 28)


21. Lessons learned from the Kyoto Process
21.1 The Importance of Leadership
21.2 The Importance of Situational Factors
21.3 Climate Policy 21: High Politics in Global Society

22. Evaluation of the Kyoto Protocol

23. Synergies and Conflicts with other International Institutions
23.1 GATT/WTO and Multilateral Investment Rules
23.2 The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
23.3 The Conventions on Biodiversity and Desertification

24. The Landscape of International Climate Politics at the Turn of the Century
24.1 The Post-Kyoto International Process: Buenos Aires and Beyond
24.2 The European Unions and the Applicant Countries
24.3 The "Umbrella Group"
24.4 Developing Countries
24.5 Non-governmental Developments
24.6 Conclusion: The State of Climate Policy and Some Underlying Causes

25. A View from the Anthill: Towards a Leadership Initiative on Climate Change
25.1 The Rationale of a Leadership Initiative on Climate Change
25.2 The First Element of a Leadership Initiative: Early Ratification
25.3 The Second Element of a Leadership Initiative: Measures for Domestic Implementation and their Co-ordination
25.4 The Third Element of a Leadership Initiative: Enhanced Involvement of Developing Countries
25.5 Conclusion

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Bibliography details   

Title: The Kyoto Protocol
Subtitle: International Climate Policy for the 21st Century
Author(s): Oberthnr, S., Ott, H.
Author Affliation: Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal,
ISBN: 354066470X
Dewey Classification: 363.738746
Medium: Miscellaneous
Binding: Hardback
Number of Pages: 359
Illustrations: 14 figures, 15 tables
Writer of Foreword: von Weizsäcker, E.U.
Publisher: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. KG
Imprint: Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. KG
Publication Date: 31-OCT-1999
Place of Publication: Berlin
Country of Publication: Germany

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last updated: 9 September 2000,