The EU will agree to a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol, provided a number of reforms are made to the international agreement and it is accompanied by a parallel second treaty that covers those countries that currently have no legal obligations under Kyoto.
British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said the bloc has agreed a series of conditions under which it will sign up to an extension of the Kyoto Protocol before it expires in 2012.
The two main conditions concern changes to the second commitment period to ensure the "environmental integrity" of the Kyoto Treaty and the agreement of a second treaty that would see all countries make legally-binding climate change commitments.
Huhne said any extension of the Kyoto Protocol would have to address the glut of so-called "hot air" Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) carbon credits that are currently held by Russia and a number of Eastern European countries.
Experts claim these credits, which built up following the collapse of the Russian and Eastern European economies in the 1990s, could undermine any future emission reductions delivered through the Kyoto Protocol if they are not retired.
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