In 1990 the problem of global warming had clear responsibility, developed countries were the source of 75% of emissions; and also clear objective, to stabilize global emissions by the end of the century, affecting as little as possible to economic growth. The result of this vision is the United Nations Framework Convention:

All Parties, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and the specific character of their national and regional development, objectives and circumstances priorities must …

The developed country Parties and other Parties included in Annex I (developed and developing countries) commit themselves specifically what is provided below:

a) Each of these Parties shall adopt national policies and take corresponding measures to mitigate climate change by limiting its anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting and enhancing sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases. These policies and measures will demonstrate that developed countries are taking the lead when it comes to modifying longer-term anthropogenic emissions consistent with the objective trends of this Convention, recognizing that the return by the end of this decade to earlier levels of anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol would contribute to such modification, and taking into account the differences in starting points and approaches, economic structures and resource bases of those Parties, the need to maintain strong and sustainable economic growth, available technologies and other individual circumstances, as well as the need for each of these parties contributes fairly and appropriately to global efforts to achieve that goal.

IPPC IPPC 1992Las proposals focused on:

Switching from coal to natural gas and renewable energy.
Achievement of safe nuclear energy for early twenty-first century
Control of deforestation and limiting emissions from agriculture and livestock
Increase energy efficiency through technological improvements

Despite this situation as favorable, not until 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the tool to implement the Convention during the period 2008-2012 was approved. For its entry into force it was required ratification by at least 55 countries representing over 55% of emissions. USA who had signed under President Clinton, refused to ratify it in 2001 under the chairmanship of G. Bush. However, unexpectedly, the Protocol entered into force in 2004 after ratification by Russia, one of the largest producers of coal, gas and oil, in return for EU support for its entry into the World Trade Organization.

The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and an international agreement that aims to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases that cause global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), and the other three are fluorinated industrial gases: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) in an approximate percentage of at least 5%, in the period from 2008 to 2012, compared to emissions to 1990. For example, if the emissions of these gases in 1990 reached 100% for 2012 should be reduced by at least 95 %. This does not mean that every country should reduce its greenhouse gas regulated by 5% minimum, but this is a global percentage and, on the contrary, each country bound by Kyoto has its own emission percentages should decrease Global pollution.

The protocol was initially adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, but did not enter into force until 16 February 2005. In November 2009 were 187 states that have ratified the Protocol.3 United States, largest emitter of of global greenhouse gases, 4 has not ratified the protocol.

The instrument is within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed in 1992 in what became known as the Earth Summit. The protocol came to give binding force to what then could not do the UNFCCC.


On 11 December 1997 the industrialized countries committed themselves in Kyoto, to implement a series of measures to reduce greenhouse gases. The signatory governments of these countries agreed to reduce by at least 5% on average emissions between 2008 and 2012, with reference to the levels of 1990. The agreement entered into force on February 16, 2005, after ratification by Russia on November 18, 2004.

The main objective is to decrease the anthropogenic climate change whose base is forced greenhouse effect. According to UN figures, it is anticipated that the average temperature of the earth’s surface increases by 1.4 to 5.8 ° C by 2100, although the winters are colder and violent. This is known as global warming. “This will severely impact on the ecosystem and our economies,” says the European Commission on Kyoto.

One issue to consider with respect to the commitments on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases is that nuclear power is excluded from the financial mechanisms for the exchange of technology and associated emissions to Kyoto Protocol 5, but is one of the ways to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in each country.6 Thus the IPCC in its fourth report, recommends the nuclear energy as a key to global warming mitigation technologies.

Entry into force

It was established that the undertaking would be enforceable when they ratify the industrialized countries responsible for at least 55% of CO2 emissions. With Russia’s ratification in November 2004, after getting the EU to pay industrial restructuring and the modernization of its facilities, especially the oil, the protocol has entered into force.

In addition to compliance that these countries have made in terms of the emission of greenhouse gases it has also promoted the generation of sustainable development, so it is also used non-conventional energy and thus slow global warming.

Participating countries and regions


The former US President Bill Clinton signed the agreement but the US Congress did not ratify it so that accession was only symbolic until 2001 in which the Bush administration withdrew from the protocol, according to his statement, not because they share his basic idea of ​​reducing emissions, but because it believes that implementing the Protocol is inefficient (United States, with only 4% of the world population, consumes about 25% of fossil energy and is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases world4) and unfair to involve only the industrialized countries and exclude restrictions on some of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in developing countries (China and India in particular), which considers seriously harm the US economy.

European Union

The European Union, as especially active in the realization of the Protocol agent, pledged to reduce total average emissions for the period 2008-2012 by 8% compared to 1990. However, each country was given a different room depending on various economic and environmental variables on the principle of “burden sharing” so that the division was agreed as follows: Germany (-21%), Austria (-13%), Belgium (-7, 5%), Denmark (-21%), Italy (-6.5%), Luxembourg (-28%), the Netherlands (-6%), United Kingdom (-12.5%), Finland (-2, 6%), France (-1.9%), Spain (+ 15%), Greece (+ 25%), Ireland (+13%), Portugal (+27%) and Sweden (+4%).


Spain pledged to limit the growth of their emissions to a maximum of 15% over the base year. But it is the member least likely to fulfill the agreement. The increase in emissions compared to 1990 in recent years has been as follows: 1996: 7%; 1997: 15%; 1998: 18%; 1999: 28%; 2000: 33%; 2001: 33%; 2002: 39%; 2003: 41%; 2004: 47%; 2005: 52%; 2006: 49%; 2007: 52%; 2008: 42.7% .7 8


Argentina, as a developing country with about 0.6% of total global emissions, was not required to meet quantitative targets set by the Kyoto Protocol. Nevertheless ratified the agreement after approval by the National Congress on July 13, 2001, through the National Law 25.438.9 Consequently, his condition makes acceding country must commit to reducing emissions or, at least, with no increase.


The December 11, 2011 Canada abandoned the Kyoto Protocol for not paying fines related to breach of reducing emissions. This announcement was made a few hours after the conclusion of the summit on climate change in Durban.

After Kyoto

Calls parties (members of the UNFCCC) met for the first time for follow-up in Montreal, Canada in 2005, where he established the so-called Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Protocol Kyoto (AWG-KP), aimed at agreements to take post-2012.

In December 2007, in Bali, Indonesia, the third follow-up meeting and the 13th climate summit (COP 13 and COP 13), with a focus on the post-2012 issues were conducted it is agreed on a process of two years, or Bali roadmap, which aims to establish a post-2012 regime in the XV Conference on Climate Change (also “15th climate summit”, COP 15 or COP 15) in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico, date from 29 November to 10 December 2010. In Cancun, more than 190 countries attending the Summit adopted an agreement with Bolivia reservation, which they postponed the second period of the Kyoto Protocol and increase the “ambition” of the cuts. It was decided to create a Green Climate Fund within the UNFCCC to have a board of 24 member countries. It will be designed by a transition committee that will form 40 countries. He also reached the commitment to provide 30,000 billion rapid financing, although the need to mobilize 100 000 million per year from 2020 to meet the needs of developing countries is recognized.

That roadmap complements the Bali Action Plan, which identifies four key elements: mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. The Plan also contains a non-exhaustive list of issues to be considered in each of these areas and calls for the treatment of a “shared vision for long-term cooperation”.

Second period of the Kyoto Protocol

The eighteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 18) on climate change ratified the second period of the Kyoto Protocol from 1 January 2013 until 31 December 2020.

The duration of this second period of the Protocol shall be eight years, with specific goals by 2020. However, this process denoted a weak commitment from industrialized countries such as the US, Russia, and Canada, which decided not to support the extension .

Around the Durban Platform, the decision was to continue the working group approved last year in South Africa. The parties may provide comments on national plans of action on mitigation and adaptation of climate change, in order to overcome barriers and achieve certification internationally.

Channeling funding and technology support to developing countries had important advances. The developed countries reiterated their commitment to continue the long-term financing, to mobilize 100 billion dollars for adaptation and mitigation through 2020.

In addition, the parties agreed to continue efforts to implement national plans for adaptation in developing countries. To do this, they began talks on the mechanism of damage and loss that enable financial recognition to countries hit by significant climatic disasters.

The approval of a new program to develop skills through education and training on climate change was also considered a tool to raise public awareness to allow greater public participation in decision-making.

In the development of the summit, Ecuador submitted several proposals, including Net Avoided Emissions (ENE), an initiative that became a major mechanism of the convention, which plans an implementation process through a program created for this purpose.

This initiative marks a positive balance for Ecuador on the issue of environmental cooperation. “Although international participation was marked by a weak commitment and unambitious goals of cooperation around emissions reduction, the country continues to work on environmental initiatives” Lorena said Tapia, environment minister of that country.

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

To respond to the threat of climate change, the UN passed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which was ratified by 156 countries and ultimately rejected by the biggest polluters in the world: the United States and Australia. The Protocol sets the objective of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. Emissions trading, the main mechanism for achieving this goal was driven by the United States as a result of strong pressure from big business. The agreement divides and privatizes the atmosphere as if they were parcels and establishes a mechanism for buying and selling ‘pollution permits’ as if it were any other good.

What are pollution permits and how can they be traded?

According to the Kyoto Protocol, the ‘contaminants’ are countries that have agreed to targets to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases over a predetermined period of time. These countries are the biggest polluters, that is, those which are commonly known as “developed”. These countries would then receive a series of ‘permits allowances’, which would be equivalent to their emission levels in 1990 plus / minus its commitment to reducing emissions. These permits are calculated in units of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. One tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent to a permit. The permits, in reality, are nothing more than licenses to pollute up to the limits set by the Kyoto agreement. The countries then allocate the permits to the most polluting industries in the country, usually for free. With this system the polluter is rewarded.

Once the permissions have, industries can use them in several ways:

If the polluter does not use its entire allocation, permits can be saved for the next period or sell them to other polluting industry in the market.

If the polluter uses up its allocation during the time period fixed, but pollutes more, it must buy permits from another polluter that has not used up his allotment.

The polluter can invest in programs to reduce pollution in other countries or regions and in this way “produce” extra credits that can then be sold, banked or used to offset the deficit in its original allowance.

The credit generation projects that unfold in a country that does not have a target to reduce emissions, which are usually countries called ‘developing world’, are covered by the controversial Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The projects carried out in countries that do have reduction targets are made as required by what is known as Joint Implementation (JI).

The CDM and JI projects can be of many types: monoculture tree plantations to absorb carbon dioxide; renewable energy projects, solar or wind sources, for example; technological improvements in power generation; capturing methane from landfills; basic improvements to polluting factories and so on. The amount of credits generated by each project is calculated as the difference between the level of emissions with the project and the level of emissions that would result in a hypothetical alternative future without the project. From this imaginary future, the polluter can design huge estimates of the emissions that supposedly would have occurred without the CDM or JI project of the company. This system encourages assumptions about what would have happened in the future without the project and in the worst case scenario is true. The greater the hypothetical emissions, the greater the alleged reductions and greater also the number of credits that can be sold. However, it is impossible to know how many emissions would have been generated without the project.

But the trees absorb carbon dioxide and that’s positive, right?

Trees absorb carbon dioxide, but also release it. You calculate exactly how much is absorbed and how much is released during the life of a single tree is already quite complicated, but try to make these calculations with a forest or tree planting is impossible. It has been shown that virgin forests are much higher than monoculture plantations to absorb more carbon dioxide emitted capacity. Plantations also have other serious impacts on biodiversity, climate and the nearby communities that are not reflected in the calculations of emission reductions.

Is Plantar in the market?

In 2001, Plantar purchased and launched eucalyptus plantations in large areas of Felixlândia, Brazil, where the documentary was filmed, in order to demonstrate the ‘additionality’ of the plantations (ie plantations are something added their regular operations). Plantar tried unsuccessfully three times to register its plantations and industrial processes in the CDM to start generating credits lucrative broadcasting rights. Previously, his proposal was to grow eucalyptus plantations that could be used to produce coal and avoid mining activities.

Finally, the CDM executive board approved in August 2007 another version of the Plantar project; this time, to reduce emissions by capturing methane generated by burning eucalyptus ovens to create charcoal for Plantar iron foundries. This iron is then used to make steel, 60 percent destined for export-used primarily in the construction machinery and automobiles. This is just one example of many that show that many large polluting industries are making profits and creating an environmental legitimacy in the international emissions market at the expense of local communities. Local and international resistance to these projects is vital to denounce the injustices perpetuated this trade and its inability to address the threat of climate change. The resistance in Brazil and at the international level has served to pressure the UN to continue to reject such requests. But that pressure must be maintained to ensure that there are companies like Plantar accept and to put into question the effectiveness of emissions trading in the fight against climate change.

What has all this to do with the World Bank?

The Prototype Carbon Fund (PCF) of the World Bank, opened in 2000, invests money from companies and governments in projects designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and generate credits that then can be sold on the market. The Bank has become the largest public intermediary in the acquisition of broadcasting rights, and achieving substantial commissions from the sale of the credits generated by the projects. In 2002, the World Bank closed an agreement to acquire emission reductions from the Plantar project.

At that time, as the project had not been accepted by the CDM, the credits that were generated were ‘voluntary emission reductions “(VER), which are issues that can only be used by companies and individuals in the voluntary market. When a project is fully operational in accordance with the provisions of the CDM generates ‘certified emission reductions’ (CER), which are those companies and countries can use to measure compliance with the Kyoto targets. Certified reductions are much greater demand than voluntary, and reach a much higher price in the market. considerable pressure was exerted for the Plantar project was accepted by the CDM, so that generate more benefits for Plantar and the World Bank.

Emissions trading is not a solution to climate change

Emissions trading is a subtle method to postpone the changes that must be made for the world economy to reduce its emissions. These changes are, in theory, very simple: reduce energy consumption away from fossil fuels, and adopt fair and just for the production and consumption of energy models. But in practice, these changes pose a global challenge that involves a social and political change, and regards issues such as land rights, neo-colonial exploitation, trade and relations between North and South. The South is not a dumping ground for pollution North. It is essential to rebuild these relationships between North and South and addressing historical ecological debt. The inability of the Kyoto Protocol to address climate change is also an example of the problems facing democratic decision processes and a clear symptom of the injustices that flood international relations between peoples. Thus, climate change can be viewed as a framework through which face a real social change.


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