Dalhousie Law Journal


UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, Marrakech Accords, environment, policy, climate change, greenhouse gases


This article reviews the results of four years of negotiations of the parties to the UNFCCC,3 from the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1997 to the Marrakech Accords in 2001. This process was intended to provide the details and operational rules needed for parties to make decisions on whether to ratify and how to implement the Kyoto Protocol in time for the start of the first commitment period in 2008. The author analyzes the Marrakech Accords with respect to the Kyoto Mechanisms, reporting, verification, compliance, and developing country issues, and concludes that the Kyoto Protocol in itself is a negligible step forward in terms of both the environmental and equity goals of the UNFCCC. It does provide, however, the best chance for international progress on these issues, in that it should serve as a pilot phase to address some of the fears and concerns preventing parties from taking more meaningful action. It has the potential to serve as a basis for separating useful tools from those that should not become part of the long term international response to climate change. Perhaps most importantly, it should serve as a mechanism to focus negotiations on the major unresolved issues, such as how to fairly distribute emissions of greenhouse gases at levels that do not threaten the global climate system.