Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol represents a major breakthrough for solving the problem of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by different nations.

  Understandably such a breakthrough would not have come about without several rounds of meetings and negotiations between the various nations - developed and developing nations to find a solution to the problem.

The salient features of the protocol may be summarized as follows:

Since global warming was a cause of concern to all the countries of the world, they began negotiations to find a solution to the problem.

It culminated in the Adoption of the Framework Convention on Climate Change under the auspices of the United Nations in the year 1992.

Hence the acronym that came about is known as UNFCCC -
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11th Dec. 1997 after several more rounds of meetings and negotiations.

The reference year was taken as 1990.

All countries have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% from the levels of the reference year 1990 in their respective countries.

All the countries should ratify the protocol with a firm commitment to take action for fulfilling the recommendations thereon, but US and Australia were among the developed nations which refused to ratify the protocol.

Since the recommendations put a bigger burden on developed countries to comply with the norms, they were not eager to ratify the same. But it was the opinion of the other nations that since the developed nations have been emitting more greenhouse gases it becomes their responsibility to reduce them also.

It came into force on 16th February, 2005 and the period of operation of the protocol would be from 2008 to 2012 when the next stage of agreement would be worked out.

Three mechanisms -

  • Emissions Trading (ET),

  • Joint Implementation (JI) and

  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
  • were brought out to give flexibility for different nations to carry out their projects.

    By means of these mechanisms, developed countries can trade emissions credits either

  • in their own countries or

  • in other developed countries or

  • in developing countries
    1. through private sector participation or

    2. in partnership with private sector along with public sector as needed.

    These mechanisms would also enable the developing nations to take part in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their countries since they have the chance of getting new technologies for carrying out many of such projects.

    Even though Kyoto Protocol represents a major breakthrough for solving the problem of reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by different nations, it leaves several questions unanswered.

    Such questions can only be solved by continuous negotiations among all the participating nations to arrive at the most desirable and fair solutions for the benefit of all the nations.

    The conference in Bali, Indonesia conducted during the first two weeks of December, 2007 to consider the scenario beyond the year 2012 concluded in deciding to hold more meetings to iron out the differences among the nations.

    Back to Home Page from the Kyoto Protocol Page