What is the Kyoto Protocol and how did it come about?
The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty whose prime purpose
is to achieve, in its first stage (2008 – 2012), that global
warming emissions will be reduced in developed countries to a level
5% lower than that of their 1990 emissions.
This Protocol came about due to uneasiness in the nineteen eighties
as scientific data first began to appear regarding a possible permanent
and irreversible worldwide climatic change. This change is due to
the increased production of greenhouse gases and led to the creation
of the United Nations General Framework Convention on Climatic Change
dated 9th May 1992.
2.- How does the Kyoto Protocol function?
It was organized as follows:
The countries adhering to the Protocol were split into industrialised
and developing countries. The former represent 20% of the world’s
population and are responsible for more than 60% of the present
greenhouse gas emissions. They must reduce their global warming
emissions of gases to a level 5.2% lower than their level in the
year 1990 during the first period (2008 – 2012)of the Protocol.
Likewise, developing countries are invited to implement projects
in their own countries to help industrialised countries in exchange
for financial assistance in developing CO2 reduction projects. .
For this purpose what are referred to as adaptation mechanisms were
created in order to facilitate the reduction of emissions as required
by the Protocol and which include both participants.
3.- Which gases cause global warming?
The six principal gases that cause the problem are: CO2, CH4, N2O,
Perfluorcarbonate (PFC) compounds, Hydrofluorcarbonate (HFC) compounds,
and Sulphur Hexafluor that come mainly from human activities in
connection with the burning of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, natural
gas), agriculture and changes in land use.
4.- What is Chile’s position in the face of the global warming
After the United Nations General Framework Agreement was signed
in 1994 Chile made it law in 1995. Subsequently in the year 2002
Chile ratified its adherence to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and commenced
to develop forms inherent to the Protocol’s requirements.
Chile has now reached the stage whereby projects geared to Clean
Development Mechanisms can be marketed as they represent important
business opportunities and commercial openings for this country.
5.- What would be the consequences of global warming should
there be no concern regarding this problem?
The main problems caused by global warming are an increase of the
sea level and alterations in rainfall patterns. The outcome would
range from health problems (mortality, infectious diseases, respiratory
diseases), to agriculture problems (affecting the growth of plantations,
irrigation ), forestry problems (composition of forests, health
and productivity), coastal area problems (erosion of beaches, additional
costs of production in coastal communities, floods), species and
natural areas problems (loss of habitat and of species, dwindling
glaciers) amongst other potential consequences.
6.- What is a CDM project and what does it comprise?
These projects are focussed on the reduction of emissions or the
setting of CO2 levels to enable an investment in an Appendix I Country
(industrialised) to be counter balanced in another country that
is not in this category (i.e. a developing country). This scheme
enables the Appendix I Country to receive the Emission Reduction
credits corresponding to their project, which are then traded to
comply with Appendix I Country’s commitment under the Kyoto
This mechanism has a threefold purpose: firstly the investor country
will make use of the Certificates Emission Reduction (CER’s)
to achieve the objectives relating to reduction and limitation of
emissions; secondly the country receiving the investment obtains
sustainable development through the transfer of clean technology;
and thirdly both parties contribute towards the ultimate objective
of the Convention on Climatic Change.
7.- Which are the possible areas that have the scope to
develop CDM Projects?
These areas include:
• Energy: co-generation, generation by hydraulic power plants,
wind power generation, utilisation of renewable energy.
• Transportation: projects for the substitution of fuels,
improvements to vehicles.
• Capture of Emissions: through forestation and re-forestation
projects, and projects for gathering bio-gas from sanitary fill.
• New technologies: treatments for agriculture and transformation
of production processes.
• Construction: sustainable construction processes, new materials.
8.- How can a CDM Project be undertaken?
To carry out a CDM Project it must first demonstrate that the reduction
of global warming gases is “additional” to the reductions
that would have been achieved had the project not existed at all.
Next a firm specialised in the matter, such as EcoTrust S.A., must
be contracted ) to undertake the project, handle the formalities,
follow the terms of reference plus arrange the necessary the financing.
Finally, the Certified Carbon Bonds must be marketed in industrialised
countries that need these emission reductions and are willing to
pay for them.