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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 6 November 2013

Climate action: Commission proposes ratification of second phase of Kyoto Protocol

The European Commission today proposed the legislation necessary for the European Union to formally ratify the second commitment period (2013-2020) of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The EU, the Member States and Iceland have committed to jointly achieve a 20% reduction in their combined greenhouse gas emissions over the second period compared to the level in 1990 or their other chosen base years. This reduction commitment is consistent with the 2009 'climate and energy package' of legislation and mirrors the package's reduction measures at EU and Member State level.

Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: "Ratification of the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol underlines the EU’s commitment to a legally binding and rules-based approach to international action on climate change. Our determination to implement our commitments is reflected in the fact that, in practice, the EU has already been applying the targets and rules of Kyoto's second commitment period since it started in January this year. By formally ratifying the second phase, Europe will help to bring it into force at international level as soon as possible. I am confident that the European Parliament, Council, Member States and Iceland will complete the respective ratification procedures as soon as feasible."

The Commission has today made two legislative proposals: for a Council Decision on ratification of the Doha amendment to the Kyoto Protocol establishing the second commitment period, and for a European Parliament and Council Regulation on technical issues related to implementation of the second period.

Ratification Decision

The ratification Decision enables the EU, as a Party to the Kyoto Protocol, to ratify the Doha amendment. It also sets out the terms according to which the EU, its Member States and Iceland will fulfil the 20% emissions reduction commitment jointly.

The ratification Decision does not change any national targets set in the climate and energy package, nor the emissions 'cap' of the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) which will reach 21% below 2005 levels in 2020.

Technical implementation issues

The proposed Regulation on technical implementation issues provides the basis for legal acts to address a number of technical issues related to implementation by the EU and Member States of the second commitment period.

Next steps

Both proposals now go to the European Parliament and the Council. In parallel with ratification by the European Union, Member States and Iceland will need to finalise their national ratification processes.

The Commission would like the EU and national ratifications to be completed by February 2015. The EU, the Member States and Iceland will then deposit their respective instruments of acceptance at the UN simultaneously, enabling the Doha amendment's entry into force at the same time for all.

At international level the Doha amendment will enter into force when it has been ratified by three quarters of Parties to the Protocol (ie 144 of the 192 Parties). The European Union is a Party to the Protocol in its own right, as are all Member States and Iceland.


The amendment to the Kyoto Protocol establishing the second commitment period was agreed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar in December 2012. The EU and Member States agreed to participate in the second commitment period as part of a broader package of understandings at international level. These comprise:

  • Voluntary pledges by more than 80 countries, including the United States, China, India, South Africa and Brazil, to limit their emissions by 2020. These pledges, together with the formal targets of the 38 Parties taking part in the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period, mean that more than 80% of global emissions are covered by targets or pledges up to 2020.

  • Consensus at international level to adopt a new global climate agreement applicable to all Parties by 2015 and to implement it from 2020.

Further information

MEMO/13/956: Questions & Answers on EU ratification of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Contacts :

Isaac Valero Ladron (+32 2 296 49 71)

Mirna Bratož (+32 2 298 72 78)

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