Australia and the future of the Kyoto Protocol

Communities Sustainability Climate change International relations Power resources Australia

Current Kyoto targets lapse at the end of 2012. All countries except Canada are expected to meet these international commitments.

Australia ratified the Protocol four years ago, ending the years of recalcitrance that cost the country diplomatically and in lost investment opportunities. Australia was also the first major Kyoto country to stand up in Copenhagen and say it was prepared to take on a second commitment period Kyoto target for the period after 2012 under a number of conditions.In Durban, it was decided that new Kyoto targets would be agreed to at the end of 2012. These would cover the period from 2013–2017 or 2013– 2020. In May 2012, countries will begin submitting details of the target they are prepared to inscribe in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.However, the Government has yet to indicate whether it will make a submission on targets in May 2012. In Durban, Australia stated it was ‘prepared to consider submitting information’ on its target ‘following the necessary domestic processes and taking into account decision[s]’ made in Durban covering other major emitters. This policy brief makes the case that it is in Australia’s national interest to accept a new Kyoto target, one that helps build greater ambition amongst all major emitters.

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