OSLO (Reuters) - Industrial nations taking part in the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol for fighting climate change can exceed goals for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if new policies work as planned, the U.N. Climate Secretariat said on Tuesday.
But it cautioned that emissions had risen since 2000 in many nations -- especially in former Soviet bloc countries where economies were picking up after the collapse of smokestack industries in the early 1990s.
The Secretariat projected that almost 40 nations taking part in Kyoto could cut emissions by 11 percent below 1990 levels in 2008-12, exceeding Kyoto’s goal of cuts of at least five percent.
“The countries that signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol are projected to achieve reductions on the order of 11 per cent for the first Kyoto commitment period...provided policies and measures adopted by these countries deliver the reductions as projected,” the Secretariat said.
Measures in place include emissions pricing mechanisms, such as carbon taxes and emissions allowances and policies to promote new climate-friendly technologies, most often to help a shift from use of fossil fuels.
And if Kyoto nations adopted additional policy mechanisms, they could cut by 15 percent by 2008-12, it said.
It said that projected performances would range widely, from a cut in emissions of 56 percent for Estonia to a rise in emissions of 53 percent for Spain.
The Secretariat said earlier this month that emissions by all industrial nations, including outsiders led by the United States, rose to 18.2 billion tonnes in 2005 from 18.1 billion in 2004 and were just 2.8 percent below 18.7 billion in 1990.
Emissions by the United States, the top emitter among rich nations and which is not part of Kyoto, are projected to be 26 percent above 1990 levels by 2008-12, it said.
“For the totality of Kyoto signatory countries, reductions of 15 per cent are feasible should additional policies be planned and implemented,” said Yvo de Boer, head of the Secretariat.
“But we should not hide the fact that there is continuing greenhouse gas emissions growth on the part of several countries and that they must do more to rein in their emissions,” he said.
“More than 1,000 policies and measures have been implemented -- a reflection of the absence of a known ‘silver bullet’ policy,” the Secretariat said. And it said that the “transport sector remains the key challenge for emission mitigation.”
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Reporting by Alister Doyle, editing by Anthony Barker