This Tool Box is constructed with two main sections: air quality and greenhouse gases.  These topics are accessible from tabs on the main page.  The additional tab, “Integration,” describes how and when strategies from each of the toolboxes create “co-benefits;” strategies that accomplish the goals of both subjects.  Links embedded among many of the strategies in each toolbox also provide a path for understanding co-benefits

Greenhouse Gasses:  International Context and Emerging Initiatives

Introduction:  Reaching a Global Consensus

International GHG Reduction Initiatives and Partnerships

Other Multi-National, Municipal, and Maritime Related Partnerships


Introduction:  Reaching a Global Consensus

Climate change is now commonly identified as one of the most urgent and critical global issues by a growing number of industrialized countries.  This is certainly the case now in the United States, where newly elected president Obama called for a “new chapter” on climate change saying “Few challenges facing America -- and the world -- are more urgent than combating climate change. “  The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) confirmed that human actions are changing the earth’s climate and creating major disturbances in human systems and ecosystems.  This overwhelming scientific consensus has further galvanized industrialized and developing countries, many of whom were already signatories to the Kyoto Climate Protocol.

With strong international consensus in place concerning the mechanisms behind climate change, efforts have shifted to discussions about appropriate national and international policies to combat the threat.   Much of this policy discussion focuses on the design of a post-2012 climate regime.  Under the Kyoto Protocol, Annex I parties agreed to reduce overall emissions of six greenhouse gases by an average of 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.  The architecture of the global climate regime for the post-2012 period is very uncertain, with a number of possible policy frameworks under development and discussion. 

Negotiations for the future regime have taken on increased gravity following the Bali Action Plan agreed to at the 13th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 13) in Indonesia in December, 2007.  The action plan sets out a process and timeline for the development of an agreement on a post-2012 framework, including reaching agreement by COP 15 in Copenhagen in December of 2009 and addressing four key areas: targets/mitigation, adaptation, technology development and transfer, and financing and investment. 

The key product of COP 15 that will affect these four areas is generally believed to be a robust carbon trading market in which countries are able to buy and sell credits in order to reach their committed goals.  Proceeds from the market will be re-invested to projects in developing countries to continue to develop in a sustainable manner.  

To be a truly effective tool for mitigating climate change the new agreement also needs to impose binding GHG emission limits on both developed and developing nations. This is a condition that was not part of the Kyoto Protocol, which placed the emphasis instead on developed countries.  Of critical concern in these negations are commitments by the “BRIC” countries, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, whose greenhouse gas emissions have grown at alarming rates.  The structure of how countries will meet their agreed-to limits will be subject to individual policies and regulations within those countries. 

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International GHG Reduction Initiatives and Partnerships:

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Started in 1992, the UNFCCC’s primary mission was to find ways to stabilize GHG emissions on an international level.   It established the Conference of Parties (COP) discussions among 192 participating countries and set about to gather and share information, policies and strategies.  It established GHG emission reporting requirements for participating countries and has become the key body in moving towards an agreement on an international approach to combating climate change.   The landmark agreement under the UNFCCC in 1997 was the Kyoto Protocol which was the first major international agreement that would make significant reductions to greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Kyoto Protocol:

This amendment to the UNFCCC was agreed to in December 1997 and entered into force in February 2005.  It established an international treaty intended to bring countries together to reduce global warming and to cope with the effects of temperature increases. 186 of 192 industrialized and developing countries have ratified the agreement to collectively reduce GHG emissions by at least 5% compared to a 1990 baseline.  The provisions of the Kyoto Protocol are legally binding on the ratifying nations, and stronger than those of the UNFCCC.  The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets specific , binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European Union, but excludes developing countries.  These targets include six major greenhouse gases, often referred to as the “Kyoto Six:”   carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).

Internationally, these emission reductions are accomplished through 3 flexible mechanisms: 

Nationally, to meet their targets or to generate credits that can be traded, most ratifying nations would have to combine several strategies:

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Other Multi-National, Municipal, and Maritime Related Partnerships:

International Climate Action Partnership (ICAP)

ICAP is an open forum comprised of public authorities and governments that have established or are actively pursuing carbon markets through mandatory cap and trade systems. The partnership provides a forum to share experiences and knowledge. Sharing and evaluating best practices will help ICAP members determine the extent to which their respective programs can be supported by, and or benefit from, the ICAP process.  Membership is open to all public authorities and governments that have established or are actively pursuing carbon markets through mandatory cap and trade systems as one approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. ICAP also welcomes observers from other states around the world which are considering introducing cap and trade systems for tackling greenhouse gas emissions. (from

The Asia – Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate

Representing more than half the world’s this partnership involving Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and the United States. The partners have agreed to work together and with the private sector to meet goals for energy security, national air pollution reduction, and climate change in ways that promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. The Partnership will focus on expanding investment and trade in cleaner energy technologies, goods and services in key market sectors.

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International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH)

The principle objective of IAPH is to develop and foster good relations and cooperation among all ports and harbors in the world.  It accomplishes this by providing a forum to exchange opinions and share experiences on the latest trends of port management and operations.  IAPH strives to emphasize and promote the fact that ports form a vital link in the waterborne transportation of goods and play a critical role in today's global economy.  IAPH is equally committed to the protection of environment, as it is an indispensable factor of sustainable economic growth.  Recognized as the only international organization representing the voice of the world port industry, IAPH is granted consultative status as Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) from five United Nations (UN) specialized agencies and one intergovernmental body:

Its consultative status has enabled IAPH to represent the views of port managers/directors and promote, enhance, and protect the interests of the global port industry as a whole.  In July 2008, fifty-five member ports adopted the World Ports Climate Initiative (WPCI), which calls for member and non-member ports to work together, through the forum provided by IAPH, to address climate change issues.  One of the key components is for ports to share their best practices and experiences with the world’s ports and various concerned parties.  One of the focuses of this initiative is carbon footprinting associated with port-related sources.

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IMO Greenhouse Gases Initiatives

IMO’s Maritime Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) is currently working on developing “coherent and comprehensive future IMO regulatory framework on GHG emissions from ships.” This regulatory framework is scheduled to be presented at the Copenhagen Conference of Parties (COP 15) in December 2009.

Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI)

The CCI is making a difference in the fight against climate change in practical, measurable and significant ways, by working with 40 of the world's largest cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  CCI is assisting partner cities to make energy-savings improvements to buildings, transit systems, lighting and waste management. 

Large Cities Climate Leadership Group

Forty of the world’s leading cities (C40) and the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) have joined to share strategies for confronting climate change.  In a July 2008 meeting, the fifty-five ports present endorsed the World Ports Climate Declaration, in which they actively committed themselves to reduce CO2 emissions and improve air quality.  Under the umbrella of the IAPH these ports will prepare concrete measure.  In coordination with the IAPH, these ports met again in Los Angeles in November 2008 to discuss climate change in regard to port operations and further refined the World Ports Climate Declaration.  



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