Who’s Down With the Kyoto Protocol?

A very good question. Short answer? Pretty much everybody except the United States.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement that was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. It is linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which requires parties who signed to reach the internationally binding emission reduction targets that were set by the Ky

The Kyoto Protocol places a greater burden on developed nations who are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere due to their 150 years of industrial activity. There are two commitment periods where those industrial countries under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” have certain standards they must reach reducing GHG emissions. In the first commitment period reductions must average five percent against 1990 levels.

During the second commitment period, countries are committed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18 percent below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013 to 2020. Interestingly, countries who were opposed to the standards set in the first commitment period differ from those opposed in the second commitment period.

A total of 192 countries have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period. The international community has definitively decided that fighting climate change is a worthy undertaking EXCEPT for Afghanistan, Southern Sudan, the world’s newest country, Andorra and The Vatican City are considered “observers”, Taiwan who is not technically its own state, AND the United States of America with the largest economy on the planet. It’s a travesty that the United States is so controlled by the business oligarchs and the the GOP who deny there even is an issue with GHG emissions and climate change that it refuses to to sign this important document snubbing the desire 192 other nations around the world to help fight against climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol is seen by many as an important first step towards a truly global emission reduction regime that will stabilize GHG emissions. It is hoped that it will provide the foundation, which is badly needed, for the future international agreement on climate change.

The second commitment period with its bitter fighting over continued emissions reductions and international aid to poorer countries fared far worse with only 37 out of 194 countries backing what is known as the Kyoto extension. Since the agreement was weakened with those countries participating in the agreement being allowed to set their own emissions reductions by 2020, and not binding large developing nations, like China and India, to reduce emissions, a number of the large industrial countries such as Japan, New Zealand, Canada and Russia voiced opposition to the extension.