In 2012, Naalakkersuisut, the Greenlandic government, decided to request Denmark to effectuate a territorial exclusion for Greenland, when ratifying the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement linked to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that obligates those industrialised countries that have ratified the agreement – including Denmark – to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gasses. The first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012 and the second commitment period stretches from 2013 to 2020.
A territorial exclusion means that Greenland will be exempted from international reduction commitments in the period 2013-2020. It further implies that Denmark’s ratification of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will not have any consequences for Greenland. Only the EU along with a limited number of other countries, including Norway, Switzerland and Australia, has reduction commitments in the second period of the Kyoto Protocol. These countries are responsible for about 14% of global emissions of greenhouse gasses and the share is decreasing.
Greenland was included in Denmark’s reduction commitments in the first period of the Kyoto Protocol from 2008 to 2012. Denmark committed to a 21% reduction, within which Greenland made a commitment to bring down emissions by 8%. In agreement with the Danish Ministry for Climate, Energy and Building, Greenland’s fulfilment of the first commitment period was secured through the purchase of CO2 credits in 2012 corresponding to the remaining balance of 431 gigatonnes CO2.
Greenland reports together with Denmark to the UNFCCC every fourth year. The report – also known as the National Communication – gathers emission statistics, mitigation initiatives and data on how climate change is impacting Greenland and Denmark in general. You can find the last National Communication from 2009 here.
The territorial exclusion is taken based on factors, which you can read more about here.