Annex I Parties

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Annex I Parties


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol split nations into Annex I and Non-Annex I parties. Annex I parties are industrialized nations and are legally bound to reduce greenhouse gas emissions once they have ratified the agreement. In contrast, Non-Annex I parties (developing nations) are only required to report emissions. The split is a significant issue, especially since Non-Annex I parties such as China and India are among the world's largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and have a high rate of increase in emissions. This is one of the reasons that the United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and it is also a point of debate for future agreements that will follow the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012.

Historical Background and Scientific Foundations

The UNFCCC is an international treaty that entered into force in 1994. It seeks to find ways to address and reduce climate change. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was added to the UNFCCC and it went into force in February 2005. The Kyoto Protocol sets legally binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions.


GREENHOUSE GASES: Gases that cause Earth to retain more thermal energy by absorbing infrared light emitted by Earth's surface. The most important greenhouse gases are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and various artificial chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons. All but the latter are naturally occurring, but human activity over the last several centuries has significantly increased the amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in Earth's atmosphere, causing global warming and global climate change.

INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AGENCY: International group established in 1974 by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group of 30 well-to-do Western countries formed after World War II to coordinate economic concerns. The IEA promotes nuclear energy and releases technical studies of the world energy situation and of particular energy issues.

KYOTO PROTOCOL: Extension in 1997 of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty signed by almost all countries with the goal of mitigating climate change. The United States, as of early 2008, was the only industrialized country to have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which is due to be replaced by an improved and updated agreement starting in 2012.

The parties to the UNFCCC are divided into three groups. Annex I parties are industrialized nations and countries with economies in transition. Annex II parties are the Annex I countries but not the countries with economies in transition. Non-Annex I parties are mainly developing nations. Annex I parties are legally required to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, while Non-Annex I parties are only required to report their emissions.

Impacts and Issues

As of 2007, most of the 41 Annex I parties have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and so are legally obligated to reduce greenhouse emissions. The notable exception is the United States.

One reason for not ratifying the agreement is the negative economic effect that will likely result. A second reason is that China and India are not required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions although they contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions. China and India have both ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but as developing nations, they are Non-Annex I nations and so are not required to reduce emissions.

In 2006, the International Energy Agency predicted that China would overtake the United States to become the largest emitter of greenhouse gases by 2009. However, in June 2007, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency reported that China had surpassed the United States to become the biggest producer of CO2 emissions.

India, a fast developing nation, has also seen an increase in its greenhouse gas emissions. The inclusion of developing nations is emerging as one of the significant issues in negotiations for a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

See Also China: Climate and Energy Policies; China: Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions; Economics of Climate Change; Kyoto Protocol; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); United States: Climate Policy.



Dessler, A. E., and E. A. Parson. The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.International Energy Agency. World Energy Outlook 2006. Paris: International Energy Agency, 2006.

Web Sites

“China Now No. 1 in CO2 Emissions; USA in Second Position.” Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, June 19, 2007. <> (accessed November 7, 2007).

“List of Annex I Parties to the Convention.” United Nations Framework Conventionon Climate Change, 2007.<> (accessed October 25, 2007).

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