A Kyoto forever scenario

Using TIAM and its climate module, the possible futures associated with keeping the Kyoto agreement forever, were explored in terms of GHG accumulation and temperature change.

The scenario Kyoto forever represents the reductions enforced by the Kyoto Protocol, considering that the GHG emissions of AUS, CAN, EEU, FSU, JAP, SKO, WEU as well as USA (these are the regions of TIAM corresponding to the Annex 1 countries) remain constant from 2010 at their emission level fixed by the Kyoto Protocol. The emissions of the other countries are free. The trade of greenhouse permits between Annex 1 and Non-Annex 1 countries is not allowed, meaning that the CDM is not considered.

In this scenario, Annex 1 countries agree to implement the emission reductions resulting from the Kyoto treaty, and to maintain indefinitely their emissions at the Kyoto level (average level from 2008 to 2012, inclusive). Non Annex 1 countries are under no obligation to reduce their emissions; furthermore, their economies may respond to changes in energy prices caused by the emission reductions in Annex 1 countries. Therefore, GHG emissions from non Annex 1 countries may well be different from their values in the Reference case. Annex 1 countries may trade permits between themselves but not with Non Annex 1 countries (therefore, our version of Kyoto For Ever does not include any CDM, or other transfers of emissions between the two Annexes).

The results (Figure 1 and Table 1) show that the emissions are only marginally reduced in the longer term, because of three factors:

  • First, the future high contribution of Non-Annex 1 countries to the World emissions, given their economic development;
  • second, some hot air is available in FSU, which means that the Kyoto emission limit for FSU stays above the Reference emissions for several years in the future. The hot air thus created may be traded with other Annex 1 countries, thus facilitating the attainment of the Kyoto constraint for the entire Annex 1 set of countries;
  • third, there is some emission leakage from Annex1 to Non Annex1 countries, mostly due to a shift in the production of fossil fuels away from Annex 1 countries
Table 1: GHG emissions under Reference and under Kyoto Forever (GtC-eq/yr)
Figure 1: Emissions and radiative forcing (Kyoto forever and Reference)

Table 2 shows also that some emission leakage is observed: emissions of Non-OECD countries are higher (up to 8% in 2050) in scenario Kyoto forever than in Reference. Under the Kyoto constraint, Annex 1 countries produce less fossil fuels (in particular coal), and since emissions are not limited in Non-Annex 1 countries, the latter produce more fossil energy and export it to Annex 1 countries, thus incurring upstream GHG emissions at the extraction and processing stages. Table 3 shows emissions and leakages for China and India. These two countries show some emission increases of the same order of magnitude as the set of all Non Annex 1 countries. In conclusion, a Kyoto forever scenario is far from being sufficient in order to keep the radiative forcing small enough to avoid negative climate impacts. It does not receive further analysis within this study.

Table 2: GHG emissions under Reference and under Kyoto Forever (GtC-eq/yr)