International Climate Change Institutions and the Greenhouse-Gas Emitting Performance of Nations
This chapter begins the process of laying the foundations to support the global protocol revealed in Chap. 10. The exercise begins with an illumination of some key climate change institutions and related mechanisms. The exercise continues with an examination of the greenhouse gas-emitting performance of individual countries and the different UNFCCC-defined groups of nations. It is shown that global emissions rose by an alarming 31.0 % over the 1990–2010 period despite a 6.2 % fall in the greenhouse gases emitted by the Annex I group of nations—confirmation that the Kyoto Protocol’s confinement of emissions targets to Annex I nations did little to prevent global emissions from rising above their 1990 levels. More alarmingly, it is shown that the 6.2 % decrease in the Annex I group’s emissions was largely made possible by the enormous decline in the greenhouse gases emitted by the Annex I (non-Annex II) group of Parties over the 1990–2010 period (−28.5 %), which was caused by a one-off plunge in the emissions of former communist countries. As for future emissions obligations, it is revealed that the world’s wealthiest nations have emitted a disproportionately large share of global greenhouse gas emissions and therefore need to dramatically reduce their emissions in coming decades to help stabilise the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases at no more than 450 ppm of CO2-e. Having said this, low-GDP countries also need to reduce their emissions, which will require them to be subject to emissions targets in the not-too-distant future. Altogether, the exercise performed in this chapter highlights the need to modify the Kyoto architecture and adopt a ‘common but differentiated convergence’ approach when setting and embodying national emissions targets in a new global emissions protocol.