Paris Agrement And Koyoto Protcol Political Science Essay

879 words - 4 pages

Climate change is arguably the biggest collective action problem facing the world. The complexity of the issue arises from the intricacies of the climate system and the ever increasing impact of human actions on the earth. In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was created as the first multilateral agreement to address the threat of climate change at the Rio Earth Summit (Harris, 2011) . The UNFCCC lay out aspirational goals to take action that would reduce emissions and stabilize the climate (UNFCCC, 2014). The principle agreements that followed the creation of the UNFCCC were the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was the first comprehensive climate treaty reached, as it set out binding targets for emission reduction for Annex 1 countries to follow (Hoffmann, 2013: 605). On the other hand, the Paris Agreement allowed for countries to set their own goals and track and report on their own progress it focuses on emission reduction as well as adaptation policies, while also having a global target to limit the rise of temperatures to no more than 2 degrees celsius (UNFCCC, 2015). This essay will argue that the Paris Agreement will thrive where the Kyoto Protocol crumbled. This is because the Paris Agreement overhauls the system based on distributional conflict over legally binding emission reductions, and adopts a decentralized approach that allows for voluntary mitigation efforts at a transnational and domestic level.
Kyoto set mandatory targets on greenhouse gas emissions for the world’s economic leaders. The targets varied for each country but had a general aim of reducing emissions by at least 5% below 1900s level for developed countries. The agreement also offered flexibility in the way in which Annex 1 countries were to reach their goals, such as the clean development mechanism which allowed countries to earn ‘credits’ by setting up greenhouse gas reduction programs in other less developed countries (UNFCCC, 1997). Ultimately, Kyoto was the first step in the right direction of multilateral climate negotiations. But even though the intent was there, the execution was not ideal due to the traditional approach that was used to implement the policy. To elaborate, Kyoto had a top - down approach, meaning that the policy making and implementation was at the national level; this varies from the bottom - up approach adopted in the Paris agreement (Hoffmann, 2013). To further explain, a bottom - up approach starts at the local level and goes up to the national, it is a decentralized strategy that is adopted in the Paris agreement which allowed for more focus on local and domestic organizations . However, having a bottom - up approach does not mean that there is...

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