A critical analysis of the Kyoto protocol's second commitment period.
Morchio, Juan Manuel Sabio.
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Over the last four decades, the issue of climate change has drawn a rather great amount of attention in the international environmental law arena. Starting in 1992 with the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), climate change began to be addressed for the first time as an international concern and at an international level. The adoption of the UNFCCC was merely a framework Convention without any actual greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Nevertheless, in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC was adopted and it entered into force in 2005. Such Protocol gave enforcement to the principles and objectives of the parent framework Convention. The Protocol consisted of a first commitment period which began in 2008 and concluded in 2012. Such period imposed obligations on all Parties but only compulsory emission reduction targets on developed countries. The distinction between both worlds was due to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR). After the conclusion of the first commitment period, there was large uncertainty regarding the future of the Kyoto Protocol as there was no other legal regime in existence for the post-2012 period. This gave rise to heated debates at various Conferences of the Parties (COP’s). Fortunately, in 2012 at Doha, Qatar an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was adopted which ultimately created a second commitment period between member Parties and it extended the Protocol from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2020. This thesis will primarily focus on the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period, coupled with the legal issues which have had to be addressed in order to ensure a seamless transition onto the second commitment period. Thereafter, an analysis will be provided regarding the potential efficacy of the second commitment period and whether this will be sufficient to curb global climate change. The author is of the view that by the culmination of this thesis, the reader would have an up-to-date understanding of the current status of the international legal climate change regime. This will enable the reader to comprehend what the member Parties needed to decide in order for a second commitment period to emerge and how it will work. Lastly, the time of writing is as of July 2013.