9 November 2012 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed Australia’s announcement that it will sign up for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, his spokesperson said, referring to the legally binding treaty to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and for which the first period for emission reduction commitments is due to expire at the end of this year.
“Addressing climate change is fundamental for achieving sustainable development,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. “Urgent action is needed.”
The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997, and entered into force in February 2005. Its major feature is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Ban praised Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her leadership, and called on all governments to take decisive steps against climate change at the upcoming Climate Change Conference, which will be held in the Qatari capital of Doha later this month.
The Conference is expected to bring thousands of State representatives, international organizations and civil society members to discuss ways to cut global carbon emissions by the year 2020.
During a conference in the South African city of Durban last year, 194 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), agreed on a package of decisions – known as the Durban Platform – which include the launch of a protocol or legal instrument that would apply to all members, a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, and the launch of the Green Climate Fund, which was created to help developing nations protect themselves from climate impacts and build their own sustainable futures.
The UNFCCC sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change.
During informal talks in Bangkok, the Thai capital, in September, countries also set specific objectives for the meeting in Doha, which include triggering a new phase of climate action and filling in the gaps in the international policy response to climate change.
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