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Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and post-Kyoto commitments in Kazakhstan: legal implications for land use

Two outcomes of the work of the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties and the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (30 November - 12 December 2015, Paris, France) have great significance for global and national efforts to tackle climate change. First, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached a new global climate change agreement - the Paris Agreement -, charting a fundamentally new course that will begin after 2020. Second, Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC adopted a decision that opens the door for Kazakhstan’s participation in the global climate mitigation efforts even before 2020 through clarification of the country’s quantified greenhouse gas (GHG) emission target for the second commitment period of the Protocol (2013-2020).
In 2013, Kazakhstan launched the first national emissions trading scheme in Asia as a main tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy, industry, oil, gas and coal mining sectors. Climate change mitigation targets can also be achieved by countries through the protection and/or enhancement of greenhouse gas sinks associated under the global climate change regime mainly with land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) activities. For instance, in 2013 removals of CO2 by forest land in Kazakhstan amounted to 10925.8 thousand tons while only 4.5 % of the total territory of the country is forested (National Inventory Report of the Republic of Kazakhstan submitted to the UNFCCC in 2015, available at unfccc.int/national_reports/annex_i_ghg_inventories/national_inventories_submissions/items/8812.php). The role of LULUCF activities in the mitigation of climate change has been recognized by the international climate regimes but it is considered that accounting GHG removals by direct human-induced land-use change and forestry activities should be limited due to greater uncertainties arising from certain peculiarities of the sector.
This study discusses the provisions of the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, which provide the legal requirements for Parties undertaking individual and collective climate change mitigation efforts. It focuses on the policy, legal and institutional aspects of Kazakhstan’s participation in the global climate regimes under the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement and the country’s climate mitigation actions at the national level, in particular Kazakhstan’s national emissions trading scheme, possible LULUCF activities and projects in the pre-2020 and post-2020 international climate regimes.