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The Kyoto Protocol

In 1990, the United Nations (UN) responding to concerns about the expected serious and far-reaching implications of climate change caused by anthropogenic activities, launched a series of initiatives and negotiations with the main target of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, so that the risk of an uncontrollable and irreversible climate change is minimized. 

This procedure concluded, in 1992, in the drafting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was the first resolute measure for confronting climate change. After the convention was signed, negotiations continued in order to plan its practical application; these negotiations resulted in the approval of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which took on its final form in Marrakesh in 2001, before eventually coming into force in year 2005.

Within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol objectives, the European Union committed to reducing anthropogenic emissions of the six greenhouse gases in the period 2008-2012 by 8% in relation to 1990 levels. 

Greece, as a member of the European Union and within the framework of joint adherence to the relevant commitments, has undertaken the obligation to limit the increase in greenhouse gas emissions during the period 2008-2012 to 25% in relation to base year emissions. Year 1990 is considered the base year for CO2, CH4 and Ν2Ο emissions, while for PFCs, HFCs και SF6 emissions, the base year is 1995. The challenge to achieve the Greek objective appears to be excessively demanding, given that the annual increase in energy consumption in Greece is among the highest in the EU (2.7% for the period 1990-2003 according to data from the European Environment Agency). Every inhabitant of Greece “produces” 12.4 tons of greenhouse gases per year, about 12% above the European average. 

Besides the distribution of mandatory emission targets per state, the application of the Kyoto protocol foresees the parallel operation of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Rights Trading System, which allows for the trading of rights between involved parties. International operation of the Emissions Rights Trading System commences in year 2008, while the European Union has also applied it in the period 2005-2007. 

MOTOR OIL has obtained a greenhouse gas emissions license from the Ministry of the Environment and Urban Planning for its refinery in Aghioi Theodoroi, on the basis of which it was entitled to emit specific quantities of CO2 during the first period of application of the Emissions Trading scheme (2005-2007), as foreseen by the National Emissions Rights Allocation Plan (NERAP). The NERAP has also been finalized for the second period (2008-2012), and new emission rights have been granted to MOTOR OIL.         

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