Kyoto Protocol: Amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

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What is the Kyoto Protocol?
The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty intended to bring countries together to reduceglobal warming and to cope with the effects of temperature increases that are unavoidable after 150 years of industrialization. The provisions of the Kyoto Protocol are legally binding on the ratifying nations, and stronger than those of the UNFCCC. Countries that ratify the Kyoto Protocol agree to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs and PFCs. The countries are allowed to use emissions trading to meet their obligations if they maintain or increase their greenhouse gas emissions The Kyoto Protocol sets specific emissions reduction targets for each industrialized nation, but excludes developing countries. To meet their targets, most ratifying nations would have to combine several strategies:  * place restrictions on their biggest polluters

* manage transportation to slow or reduce emissions from automobiles * make better use of renewable energy sources—such as solar power, wind power, and biodiesel—in place of fossil fuels Background

The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997. It was opened for signature on March 16, 1998, and closed a year later. Under terms of the agreement, the Kyoto Protocol would not take effect until 90 days after it was ratified by at least 55 countries involved in the UNFCCC. Another condition was that ratifying countries had to represent at least 55 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions for 1990. The first condition was met on May 23, 2002, when Iceland became the 55th country to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. When Russia ratified the agreement in November 2004, the second condition was satisfied, and the Kyoto Protocol entered into force on February 16, 2005. As a U.S. presidential candidate, George W. Bush promised to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Shortly after he took office in 2001, however, President Bush withdrew U.S. support for the Kyoto Protocol and refused to submit it to Congress for ratification. Rationale of UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol

The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner. Concluding Remarks

While international agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol are certainly a step in the right direction in that they raise awareness about the severity of global climate change, they are not a complete solution and will not solve the problem alone. Real results and improvements will be seen when fundamental reductions in energy consumption and changes in lifestyle are achieved on an individual level across the globe. Continue by reading about What You Can Do to contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving your lifestyle. The Effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol has several provisions and established mechanisms concerning technology transfer which is supposed to favoring technology transfer for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world. However, mainly due to the flaws of the provisions and mechanisms, the environmentally sound technologies have not been transferred as smoothly as possible to realize the Kyoto Protocol’s objectives. Therefore, the international community shall take the effectiveness of Kyoto Protocol as a fresh impetus to...
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