Kyoto Protocol

  • It is an international treaty
  • Negotiated under UNFCC
  • Adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan
  • Came into force in 2005
  • Parties  : 192 (Canada withdrew)
  • It gave binding targets to Annex I countries
  • The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to fight global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations
  • The Protocol is based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities: it puts the obligation to reduce current emissions on developed countries on the basis that they are historically responsible for the current levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • The Protocol’s first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 2012
  • By 2008-2012, Annex 1 countries have to reduce their GHG emissions by an average of 5% below their 1990 levels (for many countries, such as the EU member states, this corresponds to some 15% below their expected GHG emissions in 2008).
  • A second commitment period was agreed on in 2012, known as the Doha Amendment to the protocol.
  • The amendment includes new commitments for parties to the Protocol who agreed to take on commitments in a second commitment period and a revised list of GHGs to be reported on by Parties.
  • India has ratified the second commitment period of Kyoto Protocol.
  • Paris agreement (2015) is not an amendment to Kyoto Protocol but a separate instrument altogether.
  • Target under this protocol applies to following GHGs:
    • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
    • Methane (CH4)
    • Nitrous Oxide (NO2)
    • Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)
    • Two groups of gases :
      • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
      • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • Kyoto Protocol includes “flexible mechanisms” which allow Annex 1 economies to meet their GHG targets by purchasing GHG emission reductions from elsewhere. These can be bought either from :
    • financial exchanges (International Emissions Trading Scheme) or
    • from projects which reduce emissions in non-Annex 1 economies under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM),
    • or in other Annex-1 countries under the Joint Implementation (JI)
  • Only CDM Executive Board-accredited Certified Emission Reductions (CER) can be bought and sold in this manner.



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