Kyoto Protocol


© by Jorge Machicado

Delegates celebrated adoption of the Protocol in 1997.© The Japan Times All rights reserved.

The Kyoto Protocol (1997, See full text) is an international agreement that sets binding targets for industrialized and in transition process to a market economy countries for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

Considered industrialized countries are Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, European Economic Community, Denmark, Spain, United States of America, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Luxemburg, Norway, New Zealand, Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, North Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland (Annex II of the UNFCC). Turkey was eliminated of the Annex II by means of an amendment that went into effect June 28 2002 of conformity with the decision 26/CP.7, adopted by the CP in its seventh period of sessions.

Countries in transition process to a market economy are: Bulgaria, Croacia, Slovakia, Eslovenia, Estonia, Federation of Russia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, and Ukraine (Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol).

The Kyoto Protocol was signed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The major distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.

Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005.

184 (of 192) Parties of the Convention have ratified its Protocol to date, but not United States of America. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the “Marrakesh Accords.”

Negotiations in 2009 leading to Copenhagen

2009 is a crucial year in the international effort to address climate change. A series of UNFCCC meetings are taking place thoughout the year, designed to culminate in an ambitious and effective international response to climate change, to be agreed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen, 7-18 December.

The first round of negotiations this year took place in Bonn, 29 March-8 April. The second meeting took place in Bonn, 1-12 June. Informal consultations were held in Bonn, 10-14 August. The penultimate session before Copenhagen took place from 28 September-9 October in Bangkok. The last session before Copenhagen will be held from 2-6 November in Barcelona.

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