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Yab - Issue File - Kyoto Protocal

posted by richard

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Yab - Issue File - Kyoto Protocal
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What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Protocol is an international agreement between 36 developed countries, negotiated as an amendment to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992). It sets targets for these countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming. The Protocol came into force in 2005 and aims to reduce emissions to 5% below 1990 levels between 2008-2012.

How does it work?
Each country agrees its own specific target. For example, EU countries aim to cut their emissions by 8% and Japan by 5%. 137 developing countries have signed the Protocol. They do not have to commit to specific targets but have to report their emissions levels and develop national programmes to combat climate change. As of December 2007, the US and Kazakhstan are the only signatory nations not to have ratified the act.

What has the Protocol achieved?

  • Industrialised countries cut their overall emissions by about 3% from 1990 to 2000. However this is largely due to the collapse of former Soviet nations.
  • The Kyoto Protocol’s emission reduction targets for industrialised countries expire after 2012. However, it sets out a framework for future climate change agreements.
  • Kyoto commitments have been signed into law in some countries, US states and in the EU.

What are the limitations?

  • The US produces 25% of global emissions and has not ratified the Protocol. This is a major setback; the country claims that it would seriously damage the country’s economy.
  • The Protocol only covers a portion of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Climate change scientists think that a 5% reduction is too low, and that a 60% cut is needed to offset the impacts of global warming.
  • Due to the rapid growth of emerging economies (India, Brazil etc.) global emissions have risen and worked against the achievements of the countries that have ratified Kyoto. The UN says industrialised countries are now well off target and predicts emissions 10% above 1990 levels by 2010...
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