The Kyoto Protocol: Key Issues

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The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement between the industrialized countries signed in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. According to the agreement, the countries were obliged to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions to a certain extent during the period of 2008-2012. Nowadays, the Kyoto Protocol is signed and ratified in 188 countries. The amount of emissions for every industrialized country is calculated on the basis of its amount as for the 1990. Moreover, some countries covenanted themselves to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in comparison to the level of 1990. The others bound themselves to stay on the level of 1990 or increase insignificantly this level.

The main goal of the treaty is to stabilize the greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to avert the potential changes in the climate. The industrialized countries follow the regulations and act according to the Protocol having “the assigned amount” of greenhouse gas emission limitation from 2008 till 2012. The regulations of the Kyoto Protocol concern not only the emission of carbon dioxide, but also other gases like: methane, sulphur hexafluoride, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, and hydrofluorocarbons.

In order to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, each country has to adopt appropriate regulations and laws on its territory. For example, many countries of the European Union use alternative sources of energy. The countries accept the programs to increase the effectiveness of energy use by its citizens and manufacturers. Furthermore, the Kyoto Protocol includes the conditions of three different mechanisms for the parties to work in partnership and reduce the overall amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, it is important to state that the Kyoto Protocol also regulates the International Emissions Trading provisions. It means that there are Assigned Amount Units given to each of the country, and they can trade them among themselves. If a particular country reduces the amount of emissions set by the Protocol, it can trade a part of its surplus quotas to the other countries. The main idea of three mechanisms is mutually beneficial cooperation of two countries dealing with the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions.

To conclude, the Kyoto Protocol is the first international document dealing with the climate protection. There are many uncertainties and unsolved points in the treaty. Thus, it is the first step in climate policy in the global meaning. The Protocol is based on the three control mechanisms which allow cooperation between the parties. However, it has not been decided yet about further actions of the countries after the end of the first commitment period. There is much to be done to improve the Kyoto Protocol in the future.

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