Down the learning Curve with Emerging Technologies
Briefing Note on the Kyoto Protocol
Japan needs Nuclear Power to Reduce CO2 emissions
Markal ‘‘most widely used’’ model, but...
Clearly, a score
of technical and regulatory issues remain unsolved in the current Protocol.
All rules, regulations, conditions and modalities regarding international
cooperative actions and their monitoring, certification, etc. are still
to be settled. Only the main principles are agreed at this stage. Many
issues are deferred to the next meeting, COP4, to be held in November
1998 at Buenos Aires. Even decisions on the Meetings of the Parties will
be deferred until after the Protocol has entered into force. Advice and
guidance from UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies, from IPCC and other organizations
like OECD/IEA is sought.
Implications for Modeling,
Analysis and Policy
Many details are as yet unresolved, and at least for some time it will
remain uncertain if the Protocol will ever will be implemented at all.
However, the principles adopted indicate a need for extended modeling
and analysis. Assuming that the Protocol will eventually become operational,
it raises several new and/or underexposed questions:
What are the implications
of dealing with a ‘six-gas basket’ commitment to limit GHG emissions from
fossil fuel consumption, industry, agriculture, waste management and forestry
instead of the far more thoroughly analyzed issue of CO2 (or three-gas
basket) emissions associated with the energy sector?
How to estimate what
policies and measures to implement nationally and to what level, in light
of prospects for flexible options like emission trading and/or joint projects
with other Annex-1 Parties, CDM projects with non-Annex-1 Parties (including
“saving” of credits from 2000 onwards), and banking for future periods?
What should still
to be developed arrangements for such international and intertemporal
instruments look like; and vice-versa: how will future arrangements affect
their potential, feasibility and impact?
The fact that a Kyoto Protocol was adopted by the COP3 meeting is a very
important, but first step on a road leading to concerted, worldwide attempts
to mitigate climate change. The legally binding commitments made by Annex-1
Parties may seem very ambitious and (too) drastic at first glance to some,
and utterly insufficient to solve the problem to others. Strictly speaking
the latter is correct: the expected growth in emissions in non-Annex-1
countries will more than offset the committed reductions in the industrialized
World. Rapid stabilization of atmospheric concentrations will require
something like a 60% cut in emissions worldwide. Nonetheless, if and when
entered into force the Kyoto Protocol in all likelihood marks an unprecedented
and irreversible turning point for economic, energy and environment policy
Considering the various options for enhanced flexibility (emission trading,
joint projects and CDM) and the inclusion of all six GHGs and land-use
changes, it is not inconceivable that the currently agreed commitments
can be met at limited overall costs. The relatively weak commitments of
Russia, Ukraine and other non-OECD parties offer favorable prospects for
low-cost, cooperative strategies. Very tentative estimates at ECN Policy
Studies, using ETSAP results and other sources, seem to confirm this notion.
In addition, successful development of the CDM can further broaden the
scope for relatively low-cost emission reductions. More than ever, exploration
and assessment of such international actions calls for the widespread
use of well-established and comparable tools and databases, as well as
for new modeling approaches. To follow up on the directions set out by
the Kyoto Protocol, there is a clear need for encompassing other sectors
than energy supply, conversion and end-use, for more comprehensive treatment
of all greenhouse gases, and for multi-country analyses.
Project Head ETSAP
to Japan needs Nuclear Power to Reduce CO2 Emissions