The use of biogas as a specific action for climate protection
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an international environmental agreement with the objective of preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system and to slow down global warming and mitigate its effects.
The 194 countries which belong to this UN Framework meet annually at the UN Climate Change Conference (also called "Earth Summit"), which is fighting for specific measures for climate protection. The best known of these conferences took place in 1997 in Kyoto Japan and drew up the Kyoto Protocol, which led into the existence of emissions trading, among other measures.
On the 16th February 2005, came into effect an agreement under international law, which set binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries, which are known to be the main cause of global warming. By early December 2011, 193 countries and the European Union have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The United States have never joined the Protocol, and Canada announced on 13th December 2011 its withdrawal from the agreement.
The protocol stipulates that the reduction of annual greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries within the so-called first commitment period (2008-2012) must be an average of 5.2% over the 1990 level. For emerging and developing countries no reduction targets are quantified.
The following greenhouse gases are covered by the Kyoto Protocol:
The (relative) Global Warming Potential, Greenhouse Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2 or equivalent indicates how much a specified amount of a greenhouse gas contributes to global warming. As the comparison value is carbon dioxide used, the abbreviation is CO2e (equivalent)
The emission levels will be evaluated using the CO2-equivalents for the individual gases and weighted according to their global warming potentials. This means that for example a reduction of one ton in methane emissions is equivalent to a CO2 reduction of 21 tons, The recycling of organic waste in biogas plants can therefore mean a major contribution to greenhouse gas reduction.
The Kyoto Protocol established the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM). These allow industrialized countries that have adopted the Kyoto Protocol's mandatory emissions targets, to set up projects in the so-called developing countries that either reduce emissions (eg the construction of biogas plants and wind farms) or that remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in sinks (eg reforestation).
The project development will be issued according to the amount of emission reduction or emission certificates of carbon stored. The CDM is to assist industrialized countries in meeting their emission targets, while helping the host countries of the projects in their sustainable development.
CDM projects will follow the rules of the UN Climate Change Secretariat (UNFCCC), and obtain, after successful registration as a CDM project, emission credits (Certified Emission Reduction - CER). These CERs can then be traded in the international emissions trading.
CDM projects are approved, before the submission to the UN Climate Secretary, by Designated Operational Entities (DOE) who evaluate the additionality, voluntary nature and contribution to the sustainability of the project according to the CDM methods.
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