In a token measure to put pressure on developed countries to deliver on climate change commitments, India will soon ratify an amended version of the Kyoto Protocol. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave its approval to ratify the deal that is set to expire in 2020 and was shunned by several developed countries, most prominently the United States.
Until now, 75 countries have ratified the so-called Doha Amendment of the Kyoto Protocol, which spans from 2012 to 2020, and falls far short of the 144 needed to bring it into force .
The 1997 Kyoto Protocol came into effect in 2005 and obligated the rich and industrialised countries to reduce emissions by 5.2% of 1990 levels during the 2008-2012 period.
However, the refusal of the U.S., the second largest polluter, to be part of the Protocol and lack of commitments by Canada, Japan and other major developing countries meant that global emissionsactually rose during this period.
“Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under this commitment period in accordance with sustainable development priorities will attract some investments in India as well,” said an accompanying press note. Developing countries like India have no mandatory mitigation obligations or targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol incentivised several firms in India to retrofit their polluting plants with newer technology in the hope of earning carbon credits. However after an initial spike, carbon credit prices — that could be traded in emission-trading markets like shares — have crashed to rock-bottom prices.