The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC) and commits its parties through targeted internationally binding emission reduction targets.
- The protocol came into effect in 2005 and is aimed at exerting pressure on developed countries to deliver on climate change commitments. Under the protocol, countries must meet their targets primarily through national measures.
- The first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012.
- Recognition of the fact that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere based on their historic responsibility, the protocol places a heavier responsibility on developed nations under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
- The refusal of the U.S., the second largest polluter, to ratify the protocol and lack of commitments by Canada, Japan and other major developing countries meant that global emissions increased during the period.
Amendment to the protocol:
In Doha, on 8 December 2012, the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was adopted. The amendment includes:
During the first commitment period, industrialized countries committed to reduce GHG emissions to five percent against 1990 levels. During the second commitment period, parties committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020.
The composition of parties in the second commitment period is different from the first.
Until now, only 75 countries have ratified the so-called Doha amendment of the protocol, which has a commitment period from 2012 to 2020. It falls short of the 144 needed to bring it into force.
In context of India:
- The Union Cabinet gave its approval to ratify the deal that is set to expire in 2020 and was not ratified by several developed countries, including the United States.
- Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in accordance with sustainable development priorities will attract investments in India.
- The Kyoto protocol incentivized several firms in India to retrofit their polluting plants with newer technology in the hope of earning carbon credits.
The Kyoto Protocol is an important first step towards a truly global emission reduction regime. It is aimed at stabilizing GHG emissions and act as a framework for future international agreement on climate change.
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