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Kyoto Protocol: what is it and what does it consist of?

We often read in the news information about the well-known Kyoto Protocol or Kyoto on climate change, an international agreement that was signed with a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and thus minimizing the effects of global warming, but in what way does this protocol consist exactly and what influence does it have – or could it have – for the planet?

This agreement was created in response to the threat posed by the climate field and the problems that global industries pose to the environment. The promoter was the United Nations (UN) in 1997 in Kyoto (Japan). It proposes getting countries (especially the most industrialized and polluting ones) to commit to adopting measures to reduce their emissions. Right now, and always depending on each nation, a reduction of at least 5.2% in the emission of highly polluting gases that are destroying the planet is proposed. In AgroCorrn, we explain a summary about what the Kyoto Protocol is and what it consists of .

  1. What is the Kyoto or Kyoto Protocol – summary
  2. Which greenhouse gases must be reduced according to the Kyoto Protocol
  3. Kyoto Protocol: signatory countries
  4. Individual requirements to the countries of the Kyoto Protocol

What is the Kyoto or Kyoto Protocol – summary

Starting from what was indicated at the beginning and as a summary, we can say that this protocol ensures that polluting gas emissions are reduced and the environment is improved. Each signatory country, individually, is bound by the Kyoto Protocol to comply with emission percentages in order to reduce pollution . What you want to achieve are emission reduction targets for a number of industrialized countries, including all members of the European Union. Pollution permits (the maximum they can pollute) are calculated depending on the pollution rates that each nation emits.

This protocol is of great importance, as it is the only international mechanism to face climate change and minimize its impacts. It is an instrument that is within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) , one of the most important international legal apparatuses destined to fight against dangerous climate change. This protocol tries to encourage governments to establish laws to fulfill their commitments and companies must also have a responsibility. We could classify it as a first and important step.

Which greenhouse gases must be reduced according to the Kyoto Protocol

These are the greenhouse gases that must be reduced as agreed in the Kyoto or Kyoto Protocol:

Carbon dioxide or CO2

It is produced in the world on a large scale every time fossil fuels are burned. The single most determining factor for climate change and the biggest Kyoto target.

Methane gas

It comes from the fertilizers used in agricultural processes, one of man’s activities that most damages the environment through the methods he uses.

Nitrous oxide

It is emitted by vehicles when operating. It is one of the greenhouse gases with the greatest effect in the atmosphere, so it is vital to regulate its emission as much as possible.

Hydrofluorocarbon, perfluorocarbon and sulfur hexafluorocarbon

Other polluting gases that the Kyoto treaty aims to reduce. They are present in many industrial processes.

You can expand this information with this other post on What gases produce the greenhouse effect and where they come from . We also recommend you learn more about the environmental problem that you want to stop or solve with the Kyoto Protocol, sometimes also known as the Kyoto treaty although it is not the most correct, with these other AgroCorrn articles on:

Kyoto Protocol: signatory countries

Many countries signed the Kyoto Protocol the same year it was made, but others were left pending ratification and others were left out.

Thus, this protocol faced, from its inception, a series of disagreements that have impacted on its effectiveness. At first, it was ratified by 156 countries , but later it was rejected by the most polluting countries in the world: the United States and Australia. Even not so industrialized, developing countries signed an agreement, as is the case of El Salvador. They do not have to meet a specific objective, but they do have to commit to a certain control and measurement of their emission levels.

Since its first signature, in 1997, its entry into force was complicated. The United States , a highly polluting country, as much as more than 30% on a global scale, was largely to blame for this , which initially supported the treaty, but later its president George W. Bush rejected it, giving priority to the competitiveness of companies to the detriment of ecology. Other polluting countries did the same in the beginning, such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Russia was not very clear about it either, although it finally stamped its signature.

However, in 2002, it was also ratified by Japan, Canada, New Zealand, China, India and Brazil (the latter two, being developing countries, do not have precise emission limits). In 2004, the Kyoto pledge was given green thanks to Russia’s signature. In addition, it is necessary to indicate that Canada ratified in 2002, but abandoned the protocol in 2011.

Thus, February 16, 2005 was an important day for ecology, as the pact was ratified by 141 countries , although the great American country was not among these signatures. To date, the nations that follow the treaty emit a total of 62% of the total gases on the planet.

In summary, some of the countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol and that are most relevant are:

  • Germany
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • France
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Austria
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • UK
  • Ireland
  • Sweden
  • Portugal
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Old and bearded
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Mexico
  • China

Individual requirements to the countries of the Kyoto Protocol

The member countries of the European Union are required a reduction of 8% . However, today it will not be able to fully meet its objectives by more than 6%, according to estimates by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The problem is that between 1990 and 1996 the European Union only reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 1%, a number much lower than what was intended.

The situation in Spain is even more complicated. Currently, Spain exceeds by 40% the emissions produced 15 years ago and the Ministry of the Environment itself has already warned of the harmful consequences that climate change will have on the Iberian Peninsula.

Much remains to be done and the Kyoto Protocol is not the perfect solution, especially since many polluting countries have not yet given the green light to the proposal to comply with it. However, it is a tool that was born in response to climate change and governments are expected to commit more to this and other measures in favor of ecology and sustainability.

If you have been interested in knowing what the Kyoto or Kyoto Protocol is and what it consists of , you may also want to know what carbon credits are and how they work , which are contemplated in this protocol.

If you want to read more articles similar to the Kyoto Protocol: what it is and what it consists of , we recommend that you enter our Climate Change category .

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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