QELRO stands for Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Obligations. It is a short document that is part of the Kyoto Protocol. The paper ensured that nations would lower their emissions.
The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 and expired in 2020 (when it got replaced by the more ambitious Paris Agreement). It was the first global agreement by the UN on actions to address climate change.
What was QELRO?
QELRO was a legally binding document for all nations that signed the Kyoto Protocol. The latest QELRO was for 2013-2020, which also happened to be the last period of the Kyoto Protocol. For example, the EU handed in a joint document that ensured a decrease of 20% in all emissions. Some nations joined in on this target, such as Iceland and Croatia. Their motivation was that they wished to align with the ambitions of the EU.
Another example of a nation’s promise to decrease emissions was Norway, promising a 30 % decrease. In comparison, New Zeeland stated a 10-20 % decrease. Typically, ambitions got raised on the conditions that others raised them as well. For example, Norway originally suggested a reduction of 20%. In contrast, some nations in Europe wanted 30 %. Finally, another important detail of the QELRO documents was that many countries mentioned the need to keep global warming under 2 degrees.
Sources: UNFCCC (1), UNFCCC (2)