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Here's a look at the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement reached in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, mandating that
industrialized nations cut their greenhouse gas emissions.


 192 parties have ratified the protocol (191 states and one regional economic integration
organization). The United States has not; it dropped out in 2001.
 The protocol mandated that 37 industrialized nations plus the European Community cut their
greenhouse gas emissions. Developing nations were asked to voluntarily comply.
 More than 100 developing countries, including China and India, were exempted from the treaty.
 The treaty could not go into effect until at least 55 countries, accounting for 55% of the world's
emissions in 1990, ratified it.
 The signatories agreed to cut their country's emissions to 5% below 1990 levels between 2008
and 2012.
 The treaty also established an international trading system, which allows countries to earn credits
toward their emission target by investing in emission cleanups outside their own country.
 According to the Global Carbon Atlas, the largest contributors of greenhouse gases in 2016 were
China and the United States.


 December 1-11, 1997 - The Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is held in Kyoto, Japan. More than 150 nations attend
and adopt the first international treaty on controlling and reducing greenhouse gases.
 November 2, 1998 - In Buenos Aires, Argentina, 160 nations meet to work out details of the
protocol and create the "Buenos Aires Action Plan."
 July 23, 2001 - Negotiators from 178 countries meet in Bonn, Germany, and agree to adopt the
protocol. The United States doesn't participate.
 November 10, 2001 - Representatives from 160 countries meet in Marrakech, Morocco, to further
work out details of the protocol.
 November 18, 2004 - The Russian Federation ratifies the protocol, giving new hope that it can be
implemented, even without the United States.
 February 16, 2005 - The Kyoto Protocol takes effect.
 December 12, 2011 - Canada officially renounces the Kyoto Protocol. Environment Minister Peter
Kent says Kyoto's goals are unworkable because the United States and China never agreed to
Kyoto, and that a new pact is needed to address emissions.
 December 2012 - The Kyoto Protocol is extended to 2020 during a conference in Doha, Qatar.
 June 23, 2013 - Afghanistan adopts the Kyoto Protocol, becoming the 192nd participant.
 2015 - At the COP21 sustainable development summit, held in Paris, all UNFCCC participants sign
the "Paris Agreement" effectively replacing the Kyoto Protocol. The parties agree to limit warming
"well below" 2 degrees, and below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels if feasible.

The Kyoto Protocol is considered a milestone in international climate policy. It was adopted at the third
Conference of the Parties (COP3) to the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto in 1997. The
Kyoto Protocol was the first agreement to include binding commitments for developed countries to limit
and reduce emissions. To date, 191 countries have ratified the Protocol, including all EU member states
and key emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa. The US has still not ratified
the Kyoto Protocol. Canada withdrew in 2013.

Negotiation Process and Ratification

For the Kyoto Protocol to enter into force, at least 55 parties to the Framework Convention on Climate
Change, together accounting for at least 55 percent of total CO2 emissions produced by developed
countries in 1990, had to ratify it.

The Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005 after ratification by Russia, which was responsible for
around 16 percent of said emissions. By ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries made a binding
commitment to reducing their emissions of the key greenhouse gases - including carbon dioxide (CO2),
methane (CH4) and laughing gas (N2O). The Protocol lays down individual provisions for each country that
have to be implemented within so-called commitment periods. To achieve this, a number of flexible
mechanisms (the Kyoto mechanisms) are available to the countries to supplement reductions in their
domestic emissions.

The 1997 Climate Change Conference in Kyoto did not specify details of the mechanisms or the Protocol.
These details were clarified during subsequent climate change conferences. The conference in Marrakesh
in 2001 (COP7) played a crucial role in this context. Detailed provisions were adopted in the Marrakesh
Accords on the use of the Kyoto mechanisms, crediting sinks, in other words the natural storage of carbon
dioxide in forests, soils and oceans, and promoting climate action in developing countries.

Commitment Period

First commitment period (2008 to 2012)

At the Climate Change Conference in Kyoto, the Parties determined that the first commitment period of
the Kyoto Protocol would last from 2008 to 2012. The developed countries listed in Annex B to the
Protocol committed themselves to a reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions of at least five percent
compared with 1990 levels within this period. The European Union and its member states committed to
an eight percent reduction in their emissions in the same timeframe. This overall target was broken down
among the then 15 EU member states in an EU effort-sharing process. Germany committed to reducing
its greenhouse gas emissions by 21 percent. According to calculations by the European Environment
Agency, total emissions of the 15 EU member states decreased by an average 11.7 percent compared with
1990 levels during the period from 2008 to 2012. This means that the EU clearly exceeded its eight percent
target. Germany also exceeded its target – it reduced its emissions by 23.6 percent between 2008 and
Kyoto Protocol to the climate change

Officially, the Annex B countries listed in the Kyoto Protocol (excluding the US and Canada) complied with
their commitments: emissions decreased by more than 20 percent compared with 1990 (see link to
UNFCCC). The original reduction target of five percent was therefore exceeded. However, the reductions
achieved are not exclusively a result of the Kyoto Protocol. Developments such as the collapse of industrial
production in the former Eastern Bloc countries in the early 1990s and the 2008 global financial crisis also
played a part in this decrease. The global trend looks very different: by 2010, global greenhouse gas
emissions had risen by around 29 percent compared with 1990 levels. In addition to some of the
developed countries, rapidly developing emerging economies such as China and India are particularly
responsible for this as they have increasing problems managing the CO2 emissions of their booming

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Second commitment period (2013 to 2020)

After several years of negotiations, at the Climate Change Conference in Doha, Qatar (COP18/CMP8) the
Parties agreed to extend the Kyoto Protocol until 2020. The Annex B countries committed to reducing
their emissions by a total of 18 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. The European Union
committed to a 20 percent reduction.

Stages of climate change negotiations

The most important changes at a glance:

 As there is no doubt that the emission reduction targets for the second commitment period are
insufficient, the Parties agreed on an "ambition mechanism", which allows for more stringent
emission reduction targets during the commitment period without going through the lengthy
process of amending the agreement. A developed country can propose an even more ambitious
target for its own emissions, which will enter into force automatically once it has been adopted
by the Conference of the Parties.
 An amendment to Article 3.7 of the Kyoto Protocol also ensures that the generation of new
surplus emission units will be reduced during the second commitment period. Emission units will
be automatically cancelled if the emission budget of the second commitment period exceeds the
average emissions of the first three years in the first commitment period (2008 to 2010) multiplied
by eight.
 In addition to this, surplus emission units from the first commitment period are transferred to a
previous period surplus reserve (PPSR), which Annex B countries can only make use of if they miss
their target for the second commitment period. This is to ensure that at the end of the second
commitment period, surplus emission units from the first commitment period are not
automatically transferred to a (highly unlikely) third commitment period or follow-up agreement.
 New Zealand, Japan and Russia decided against participating in the second commitment period
under the Kyoto Protocol. The CO2 emissions of participating countries therefore total around 15
percent of global emissions.

Kyoto Mechanism

In the Kyoto Protocol there are three mechanisms that aim to support developed countries in achieving
their emission reductions. The so-called Kyoto mechanisms, or flexible mechanisms, enable developed
countries to meet part of their emission reduction commitments abroad.

 Emissions Trading
 Joint Implementation (JI)
 Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)
 Expanding CDM and JI: Programmatic approach

Emissions Trading

The most well-known of these three instruments is emissions trading, which enables trade in emission
units between developed countries. This works as follows: Each country is assigned a certain amount of
emission units. The volume of these units allocated to each country is such that a country uses up its entire
allocation if it precisely complies with its national Kyoto emission reduction target. If a country achieves a
greater reduction than called for in the Kyoto Protocol, it can sell surplus emission units in the form of
licences to another country. A country that does not succeed in reaching its Kyoto target can purchase
these units and credit them to its own emission reduction. The licences are sold internationally to the
highest bidder – in other words, the market determines the price. The other two Kyoto mechanisms – the
clean development mechanism and joint implementation – are project-based mechanisms.

Carbon Mechanisms

Joint Implementation (JI)

Projects carried out jointly by two developed countries that have both committed to an emission
reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol fall within the scope of joint implementation. If a developed
country carries out or finances a climate project in another developed country, it can credit the resulting
emission reductions in the form of emission reduction units to its target. The host country of course
cannot credit these units and must reduce its own units by the amount that was exported. Joint
implementation projects can contribute to emission reductions first being implemented where it is most

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

The clean development mechanism works in a similar way to joint implementation. The main difference,
however, is that CDM projects are carried out in a developing country that has no reduction obligation.
The emission savings that are achieved through a CDM project are certified and these certified emission
reductions (CERs) can be credited to the developed country's account. Developed countries obtain access
to these CERs either by directly participating in a CDM project or by purchasing them. The goal of the CDM
is not only – as with the first two mechanisms – to make emission reductions more cost effective. It also
serves to assist developing countries, for example through technology transfer, to achieve sustainable

The specific conditions of the CDM were laid down in the Marrakesh Accords. According to these, all CDM
projects have to be reviewed and approved by a body in advance before they can be credited.
Furthermore, the Parties also adopted regulations in Marrakesh on the type of projects that cannot be
considered for CDM: the construction of nuclear power plants is not recommended, sink projects, for
example afforestation measures, may only be credited to a limited degree. In order to use the Kyoto
mechanisms, countries must

 have ratified the Kyoto Protocol

 have taken on emission reduction targets, in other words be Annex B countries
 have calculated a national emissions budget and established a national data collection system for
drawing up greenhouse gas inventories and for transactions involving emission units.

One point of contention during many climate negotiations was the percentage of emission reductions that
should be permitted through the Kyoto mechanisms, in other words abroad. The Kyoto Protocol itself is
rather vague on this: the use of the Kyoto mechanisms must be "additional" to national reduction
measures. This wording implies that no country may comply with its reduction commitments exclusively
through the use of the Kyoto mechanisms. The Parties were unable, however, to agree on a more precise

Expanding CDM and JI: Programmatic approach

The programmatic approach is an innovative addition to the project-based Kyoto mechanisms. Since 2007
it has been possible to register Programmes of Activities (PoA) under JI and CDM. Using PoAs, a number
of individual measures can be brought together in an overarching programme. Examples of individual
measures include a change in fuel in rural areas, support for solar panels for private households and
building modernisation measures. Due to the small scale of each individual measure, there is barely any
economic possibility to incorporate it into a traditional CDM project – the transaction costs would be too
high for project preparation, validation and registration. To ensure that the considerable potential for CO2
reduction of individual measures can be tapped as part of the Kyoto mechanisms, such activities are
brought together in a PoA.

PoAs create incentives to achieve a far-reaching and long-term change in behaviour in households and
companies. They generally make a substantial and effective contribution to sustainable development in
partner countries that could not be achieved through individual projects alone.


 The Kyoto Protocol was an international agreement that aimed to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions and the presence of greenhouse gases. Countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol
were assigned maximum carbon emission levels and participated in carbon credit trading.
Emitting more than the assigned limit would result in a penalty for the violating country in the
form of a lower emission limit in the following period.
 The Kyoto Protocol predominately targeted six greenhouse gases, including:
Carbon dioxide


Nitrous oxide



Sulphur hexafluoride

The Kyoto Protocol separated countries into two groups. Annex I included developed nations, while Non-
Annex I referred to developing countries. Emission limitations were only placed on Annex I countries.

Non-Annex I nations participated by investing in projects designed to lower emissions in their countries.
For these projects, they earned carbon credits, which could be traded or sold to Annex I countries,
allowing them a higher level of maximum carbon emissions for that period.

Under the protocol industrialized nations were to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.2% on average by 2012,
but each country had its own target. For example, when the agreement was finalized European Union
members had a target of reducing emissions by 8% by 2012. The U.S. had a reduction target of 7% while
Canada's target was 6%.

However, the U.S. did not sign onto the Kyoto agreement citing that the reductions were only limited to
industrialized nations and would therefore unfairly hurt the U.S. economy. The Kyoto Protocol was not
renewed following the end of the commitment period in 2012.


What is the Kyoto protocol and has it made any difference?

The Kyoto protocol was the first agreement between nations to mandate country-by-country
reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions. Kyoto emerged from the UN Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC), which was signed by nearly all nations at the 1992 mega-meeting popularly known as
the Earth Summit. The framework pledges to stabilize greenhouse-gas concentrations "at a level that
would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system". To put teeth into that
pledge, a new treaty was needed, one with binding targets for greenhouse-gas reductions. That treaty
was finalized in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, after years of negotiations, and it went into force in 2005. Nearly
all nations have now ratified the treaty, with the notable exception of the United States. Developing
countries, including China and India, weren't mandated to reduce emissions, given that they'd contributed
a relatively small share of the current century-plus build-up of CO2.

Under Kyoto, industrialised nations pledged to cut their yearly emissions of carbon, as measured
in six greenhouse gases, by varying amounts, averaging 5.2%, by 2012 as compared to 1990. That equates
to a 29% cut in the values that would have otherwise occurred. However, the protocol didn't become
international law until more than halfway through the 1990–2012 period. By that point, global emissions
had risen substantially. Some countries and regions, including the European Union, were on track by 2011
to meet or exceed their Kyoto goals, but other large nations were falling woefully short. And the two
biggest emitters of all – the United States and China – churned out more than enough extra greenhouse
gas to erase all the reductions made by other countries during the Kyoto period. Worldwide, emissions
soared by nearly 40% from 1990 to 2009, according to the Netherlands Environmental Assessment

This is an extract from The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Henson.


The targets for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol cover emissions of the six main
greenhouse gases, namely:

• Carbon dioxide (CO2);

• Methane (CH4);

• Nitrous oxide (N2O);

• Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);

• Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and

• Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

The maximum amount of emissions (measured as the equivalent in carbon dioxide) that a Party may emit
over a commitment period in order to comply with its emissions target is known as a Party’s assigned
amount. The individual targets for Annex I Parties are listed in the Kyoto Protocol's Annex B.
* The 15 States who were EU members in 1997 when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, took on that 8%
target that will be redistributed among themselves, taking advantage of a scheme under the Protocol
known as a “bubble”, whereby countries have different individual targets, but which combined make an
overall target for that group of countries. The EU has already reached agreement on how its targets will
be redistributed.

** Some EITs have a baseline other than 1990.

*** The US has indicated its intention not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

**** On 15 December 2011, the Depositary received written notification of Canada's withdrawal from
the Kyoto Protocol. This action became effective for Canada on 15 December 2012.

Amendment to Annex B of the Kyoto Protocol

The Protocol mirrors the Convention in recognizing the specific needs and concerns of developing
countries, especially the most vulnerable among them. Annex I Parties must thus provide information on
how they are striving to meet their emissions targets while minimizing adverse impacts on developing

An Adaptation Fund was established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in
developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The Fund is financed with the share of
proceeds from clean development mechanism (CDM) project activities and other sources.

Background And Provisions

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted as the first addition to the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty that committed its signatories to develop national
programs to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2),
methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and sulfur
hexafluoride (SF6), affect the energy balance of the global atmosphere in ways expected to lead to an
overall increase in global average temperature, known as global warming (see also greenhouse effect).
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the United Nations
Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization in 1988, the long-term effects of
global warming would include a general rise in sea level around the world, resulting in the inundation of
low-lying coastal areas and the possible disappearance of some island states; the melting of glaciers, sea
ice, and Arctic permafrost; an increase in the number of extreme climate-related events, such as floods
and droughts, and changes in their distribution; and an increased risk of extinction for 20 to 30 percent of
all plant and animal species. The Kyoto Protocol committed most of the Annex I signatories to the UNFCCC
(consisting of members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and several
countries with “economies in transition”) to mandatory emission-reduction targets, which varied
depending on the unique circumstances of each country. Other signatories to the UNFCCC and the
protocol, consisting mostly of developing countries, were not required to restrict their emissions. The
protocol entered into force in February 2005, 90 days after being ratified by at least 55 Annex I signatories
that together accounted for at least 55 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in 1990.

The protocol provided several means for countries to reach their targets. One approach was to make use
of natural processes, called “sinks,” that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The planting of
trees, which take up carbon dioxide from the air, would be an example. Another approach was the
international program called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which encouraged developed
countries to invest in technology and infrastructure in less-developed countries, where there were often
significant opportunities to reduce emissions. Under the CDM, the investing country could claim the
effective reduction in emissions as a credit toward meeting its obligations under the protocol. An example
would be an investment in a clean-burning natural gas power plant to replace a proposed coal-fired plant.
A third approach was emissions trading, which allowed participating countries to buy and sell emissions
rights and thereby placed an economic value on greenhouse gas emissions. European countries initiated
an emissions-trading market as a mechanism to work toward meeting their commitments under the Kyoto
Protocol. Countries that failed to meet their emissions targets would be required to make up the
difference between their targeted and actual emissions, plus a penalty amount of 30 percent, in the
subsequent commitment period, beginning in 2012; they would also be prevented from engaging in
emissions trading until they were judged to be in compliance with the protocol. The emission targets for
commitment periods after 2012 were to be established in future protocols.


Although the Kyoto Protocol represented a landmark diplomatic accomplishment, its success was far from
assured. Indeed, reports issued in the first two years after the treaty took effect indicated that most
participants would fail to meet their emission targets. Even if the targets were met, however, the ultimate
benefit to the environment would not be significant, according to some critics, since China, the world’s
leading emitter of greenhouse gases, and the United States, the world’s second largest emitter, were not
bound by the protocol (China because of its status as a developing country and the United States because
it had not ratified the protocol). Other critics claimed that the emission reductions called for in the
protocol were too modest to make a detectable difference in global temperatures in the subsequent
several decades, even if fully achieved with U.S. participation. Meanwhile, some developing countries
argued that improving adaptation to climate variability and change was just as important as reducing
greenhouse gas emissions.

Treaty Extension And Replacement

At the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP18), held in Doha, Qatar, in 2012, delegates agreed to extend
the Kyoto Protocol until 2020. They also reaffirmed their pledge from COP17, which had been held in
Durban, South Africa, in 2011, to create a new, comprehensive, legally binding climate treaty by 2015 that
would require greenhouse-gas-producing countries—including major carbon emitters not abiding by the
Kyoto Protocol (such as China, India, and the United States)—to limit and reduce their emissions of carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The new treaty, planned for implementation in 2020, would fully
replace the Kyoto Protocol.

After a series of conferences mired in disagreements, delegates at the COP21, held in Paris, France, in
2015, signed a global but nonbinding agreement to limit the increase of the world’s average temperature
to no more than 2 °C (3.6 °F) above preindustrial levels while at the same time striving to keep this increase
to 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) above preindustrial levels. The landmark accord, signed by all 196 signatories of the
UNFCCC, effectively replaced the Kyoto Protocol. It also mandated a progress review every five years and
the development of a fund containing $100 billion by 2020—which would be replenished annually—to
help developing countries adopt non-greenhouse-gas-producing technologies.


Celebrate the Kyoto Protocol's 20th Anniversary with the UN

UN Climate Change News – 11 December 2017 is the 20th anniversary of the Kyoto Protocol, the first
international treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions. To celebrate the anniversary and to encourage the
ratification of Doha by more Parties, UN Climate Change is running a social media campaign asking
people to send messages of support.

As UN Secretary General António Guterres has said, the Protocol remains an essential vehicle for
developed countries to make more rapid and urgent cuts in their emissions.

This was his clear message to leaders and delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in
Bonn, which was backed up in the most concrete way by Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Spain during the
conference in November when they became the latest countries to ratify the Doha Amendment, which
establishes the second commitment period of action under the Protocol.
“In this 20th anniversary year of the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol and the 25th anniversary of the
adoption of the Climate Change Convention, I call on all relevant nations that have not yet done so to
ratify the Doha Amendment,” said Mr Guterres.

The Protocol, since its adoption at COP3 on December 11, 1997, has become a beacon of climate action
and an inspiring precursor to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement, because it demonstrated that
international climate change agreements not only work but can significantly exceed expectations in
meeting their objectives.

The world is not yet on track to meet the central goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement – to limit the global
average temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.

“The latest UN Environment Programme Emissions Gap Report shows that current pledges will only
deliver a third of what is needed … the window of opportunity to meet the 2 degree target may close in
20 years or less. And we may have only five years to bend the emissions curve towards 1.5 degrees. We
need at least a further 25 per cent cut in global emissions by 2020,” said Mr Guterres.


20 years after Kyoto Protocol, where does world stand on climate? Eric Johnston

On Dec. 11, 1997, representatives from over 150 nations gathered in Kyoto to hammer out what would
become the world’s first international agreement to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
especially carbon dioxide.

In a marathon nearly two-week negotiating session that ran into the early morning hours of the day after
the conference was supposed to end, and following a quick fly-in visit by U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who
urged all sides and especially the United States to compromise, a deal was struck.

The Kyoto Protocol would become one of the most inspirational and controversial treaties ever signed.

What was the purpose of the Kyoto Protocol?

The agreement came out of the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3), a process that has its origins in the 1992 U.N. Rio Earth
Summit held in Brazil. There, a treaty was proposed that would stabilize emissions “at a level that would
prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

Simply put, this treaty was supposed to keep greenhouse gas emissions from human activity at a level
scientists believed would offer the best chance of preventing catastrophic climate change.
What was the actual agreement that came out of Kyoto?

A treaty that committed 37 industrialized nations plus the European Community to cut their emissions of
six greenhouse gases by an average of 5 percent by 2012, compared with 1990 levels.

The six gases targeted for reduction included carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons
(used in air conditioning), perfluorocarbons (often produced by aluminum production) and sulfur
hexafluoride (used in the electrical industry). Carbon dioxide was the gas that policymakers were most
concerned about.

Within the average of 5 percent, different countries had different targets.

The 15 countries in the European Union at the time, as well as some eastern European countries and
Switzerland, had targets of 8 percent below 1990 levels. The United States committed to a 7 percent
reduction and Japan, along with Canada, Hungary, and Poland, agreed to a 6 percent cut.

But because the premise of the agreement was that industrially developed countries were historically
responsible for the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions since the 1800s, and produced the majority of
the world’s emissions in 1997, these binding targets covered only developed countries. Emerging
economies like China and India were exempted from setting numerical targets and promised only to do
their best to reduce emissions.

What was the result?

Before the meeting in Kyoto, the U.S. Congress warned that unless a deal was struck that forced
obligations on developing nations like China and India, America would not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Barely
had the agreement been reached when U.S. congressional representatives in Kyoto who had opposed it
said it would never fly. Pressure from the U.S. gas and oil lobbies to scuttle the deal had been strong prior
to the deal, and after George W. Bush became president in 2001 he announced that America was pulling

For the other nations, the Kyoto Protocol took effect in February 2005. Attempts to work out another deal
that would include developing nations continued to create tensions, especially between the U.S. and a
rapidly growing China.

When the Kyoto Protocol’s first stage came to an end in 2012, it was agreed in Doha to extend the period
to 2020. However, as of last month, only 88 of the original Kyoto Protocol signatories had accepted the
Doha Amendment, which would have kept their reduction goals under the Kyoto Protocol in place until

At least 144 Kyoto Protocol countries are needed for the amendment to go into force.

What’s the connection between the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the Kyoto Protocol?

After years of failure to reach an international consensus on a plan of action to replace the Kyoto pact,
U.N. negotiators agreed in Paris two years ago that all nations would work to keep the global temperature
rise this century “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to make serious efforts to
keep the rise at just 1.5 degrees.

More financing was promised for developing countries in particular to reduce emissions, and new
structures for reporting national greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation policies were agreed upon.

However, President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the Paris agreement, which has since been
ratified by 170 countries, including all of the major developed and emerging economies, leaving the U.S.
as the sole major polluter to opt out.

What is the legacy of the Kyoto Protocol?

Politically, opinion is divided. The United Nations calculates that even without U.S. participation, total
emissions by advanced countries had dropped 22.6 percent compared with 1990 levels by 2012, the end
of the first pact’s period.

U.N. Climate Secretary Patricia Espinosa credits the Kyoto Protocol for inspiring innovation and increased
use of renewable energy, and energy efficiency in particular, over the past two decades. Others note the
general rise in public awareness of the environmental problems caused by climate change, and efforts to
live more environment-friendly lifestyles, following the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol.

On the other hand, critics of the climate pact say its failure to include countries like China and India means
that attaining the temperature goal set in Paris for this century is all the more harder to reach.

In a message to the U.N.’s annual climate change conference in Bonn last month, U.N. Secretary-General
Antonio Guterres said the world was not yet on track to meet this goal.

Where does Japan itself stand?

Under the Paris agreement, Japan pledged to reduce its emissions 26 percent below 2013 levels by 2030,
a goal that has been criticized by climate experts as insufficient to aid in keeping the global temperature
rise under 2 degrees.

Much of the reduction is predicted to come from greater use of renewable energy, natural gas and nuclear
power, as well as more energy-efficiency measures and technological advances.

Figures from the Environment Ministry show that Japan’s total greenhouse gas emissions in fiscal 2015
fell 2.9 percent from fiscal 2014 levels and 6 percent in respect to the base year for Paris of 2013, but
were still about 4 percent higher than the Kyoto Protocol’s base year of 1990.