The proponents of the Protocol celebrated it as a breakthrough in international
climate policy, because (i) it promised – under the original provisions
- substantial emission reductions for the develop world vis-à-vis business-as-usual
emissions, and (ii) it established a broad international mechanism for widening
and deepening climate protection activities in the future.”
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement between countries to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases their countries produce.
They agreed to reduce greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2); methane (CH4); and nitrous dioxide (N2O), by a percentage of the levels produced in 1990, before 2012. They also agreed to reduce hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), per fluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Each country has a different target based on their industrialisation and economic health.
The Protocol only came in to effect, and a 'Treaty', when countries accounting for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world signed up to the Protocol.
Each country's target is not totally rigid, because there are plans to allow countries who are well within their target to sell their 'carbon credits' to countries who were struggling to meet their targets. This is 'emission trading‘
The Kyoto Protocol now covers more than 160 countries globally and more than 60% of countries in terms of global greenhouse gas emissions. This treaty expires in 2012, and international talks began in May 2007 on a future treaty to succeed the current one.
The Objective and Principles of Kyoto
The objective of the protocol is the "stabilization of greenhouse gas
concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic
interference with the climate system.
The Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) has predicted an average global rise in temperature of 1.4°C (2.5°F) to 5.8 °C (10.4°F) between 1990 and 2100).
Governments are separated into two general categories: developed countries, referred to as Annex I countries (who have accepted greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations and must submit an annual greenhouse gas inventory) and developing countries, referred to as Non-Annex I countries (who have no greenhouse gas emission reduction obligations but may participate in the Clean Development Mechanism).