Knowledge is key to creating a positive environmental impression for future generations


The Kyoto Protocol is the first international agreement to set verifiable binding targets for countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in order to prevent global warming in an effort to combat the serious threat of climate change. These binding targets amount to an average of 5% cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012. The EU, in implementing the Kyoto Protocol, committed to an average reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 8% below 1990 levels. This

8% reduction was allocated proportionately among the member states.

European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) was introduced by the European Union (EU) to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The EU ETS commenced operation in January 2005 and is being implemented in distinct phases or ‘trading periods.’

The scheme began in January 2005 and the first phase ran from 2005-2007. The second phase is in operation from 2008-2012 to coincide with the first Kyoto commitment period. The third phase will run for eight years, from 2013 to 2020. The EU ETS will be substantially strengthened and extended from 2013, enabling it to achieve the EU’s climate and energy targets for 2020. The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) is designed as a cost-effective way to achieve the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Member States are currently required to draw up National Allocation Plans for each trading period setting out an emissions cap or allowances for all companies covered by the scheme each year. The allocation plans are assessed by the European Commission to ensure that the proposed total quantity of allowances allows the Member State to meet its Kyoto target. National environmental protection agencies implement the EU ETS scheme in their respective countries.

Companies that keep their emissions below the level of their allocated allowances can sell their excess allowances at a price determined by supply and demand at that time. Those facing difficulty in remaining within their allowance limit may choose between or combine the following options:
– They can take measures to reduce their emissions

– They can buy extra allowances by purchasing credits from verified emission-saving projects in the developing countries or emission reduction projects in specified Kyoto Protocol countries

The limits imposed on available allowances ensure that investing in reducing emissions or selling carbon credits is financially much more attractive than buying credits. The scheme therefore incentivises as well as ensures that emissions are reduced.


A company that fails to surrender allowances as required by the end of April of each year to cover its emissions during the preceding year is penalised in the form of fines and the possible suspension of its allowance trading permit. The penalties strongly encourage compliance and do not replace the obligation to submit the required allowances.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The IPCC is the leading international scientific body for the assessment of climate change. It provides a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences. Thousands of scientists from all over the world contribute to the work of the IPCC on a voluntary basis with the aim of ensuring an objective and complete assessment of current climate change information. Differing viewpoints existing within the scientific community are reflected in the IPCC reports. The assessment reports from the IPCC help to inform the international negotiations on climate change.