Iceland Joins Kyoto Extension, With A Twist

10.12.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
Iceland has agreed to take part in the extension of the Kyoto Protocol, while granting itself exceptions for greenhouse gas emissions made by heavy industry.

The Kyoto Protocol seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the world, although it has had varying levels of support. While the US, Russia and China have been reluctant to fully ratify their participation, other nations have been more willing to abide it. Last Saturday, nearly 200 countries agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol, AP reports.

Iceland is among those countries. According to a statement from The Icelandic Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, Iceland has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. This it plans to do by reducing emissions in transportation, agriculture, some aspects of the fishing industry, energy production and waste disposal by 16%, as well as by initiating reforestation, land reclamation, and restoring wetlands.

However, some exceptions are being granted. Emissions from aluminium smelters, metal alloys production, oil exploration, airplanes and some aspects of the fishing industry will not be counted among the country's total emissions. These industries will instead be allowed to purchase "emission quotas".

At the same time, RÚV reports that a study done in Iceland indicated that emissions from heavy industry are expected to increase from 2005 to 2020 by 115% to 261%.

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