The Kyoto Protocol: An Attempt To Manage Global Warming

999 words - 4 pages

The Kyoto protocol is one of the most important treaties signed in contemporary days. It has great limitations and is yet to evolve to another level, but it addresses an issue that affects not one, two or ten countries – it affects the entire world. That is why countries have to work and cooperate to create a binding legal document that sets specific standards to greenhouse gas emissions.
In recent decades we have witnessed a gradual change in our environment. Our planet is heating up very quickly which leads to the so called global warming. Humanity has come to understand that its actions are the cause of this warming. The industries of our industrialized countries emit an enormous amount of green-house gases such as carbon dioxide which heats up the lower atmosphere and thus gradually contributing to global warming (Climate change facts, no date). The effects of global warming can be seen all over the world – draughts, floods, tsunamis, melting ice caps, snowfall in places such as Israel, spreading diseases (which were unable to survive in the once-cold climate) etc. Besides the environmental degradation, world leaders have to bear in mind the economical implications of this effect – the melting ice caps will open new trade routes which may pose a threat to some countries (such as Russia), the ever-increasing population of the Earth will soon be starving due to the disappearance of certain crops and species, shifting fishing grounds that may cause disputes over fishing rights between countries, etc.
All of these reasons and effects have made people and most importantly world leaders, realize that there is a need for change in our life so we can secure a normal future for the next generations. There are many things everyone can do to contribute to a cleaner environment – recycle, use cars less often, use nature friendly products, etc. However, these everyday changes are insignificant when compared to the enormous pollution caused by production facilities of all sorts. This is why the leaders of the most advanced countries have realized that something must be done on a larger scale.
Their answer to the issue is the Kyoto Protocol. This protocol is a part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It has been open for signing since December 1997 and is operational since 2005 and currently more than 160 countries have ratified it. It incorporates a number of legally binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Countries that have signed the protocol agree to cut their emissions to a level slightly bellow the level in 1990 (there are variations in percentage and base year). The idea is to make a distinction between two levels of countries – Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 countries. Annex 1 countries are considered to be more dangerous to the environment so they have to make specified cuts in their emissions or suffer a penalty. Non-Annex 1 countries are generally developing nations are presuming their economic...

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