India on board for second phase of Kyoto Protocol

Experts say this step could help secure international consensus on environmental protection

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The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved ratification of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which mandates global actions to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the 2013-2020 period. The Cabinet’s approval comes soon after India urged and even criticised developed nations for not ratifying the Doha amendment during the recently held annual climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.

While the Paris climate agreement, adopted by 196 countries in 2015, was ratified within a year, the Kyoto protocol, adopted in 1997, is yet to be ratified by most developed nations.

Though adopted in 1997, it came into force only in 2005 after Russia lent weight to it through ratification. The United States has not ratified it till date whereas Canada and Japan exited a few years ago. The protocol mandated rich and developed countries to cut emissions in two phases, between 2005-2012, and then between 2013-2020, through the Doha amendment. It did not mandate any obligations on developing countries to cut emissions.

Ahead of 2009 Copenhagen climate summit though, India committed to reduce its emission intensity per unit of GDP by 20-25 per cent. As per the country’s first biennial updated report 12 per cent reduction has already been achieved till 2010.

India’s approval thus reiterates its stand that pre-2020 action on climate change cannot be ignored amid the euphoria of Paris agreement ratification. With India’s ratification, 76 countries have now ratified the second commitment period and 144 countries need to ratify it for the Doha amendment to enter into force.

A government release on the ratification said that the it will “encourage other developing countries to undertake this exercise.” It added, “Implementation of clean development mechanism projects under this commitment period in accordance with sustainable development priorities will attract some investments in India as well.”

According to climate analysts, India’s ratification is more of a political and strategic move. “It is a much needed positive step forward, especially after India made a strong point about western countries not ratifying the Doha amendment during the Marrakesh conference. It may lead to more countries ratifying it,” said Sanjay Vashist, Director, Climate Action Network, South Asia.


The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits State Parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the premise that global warming exists and human-made CO2 emissions have caused it. The Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There were 192 parties (Canada withdrew effective December 2012)to the Protocol.

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