Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. ‘The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.’

‘The major distinction between the Protocol and the Convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so.’

‘Recognizing that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”’

‘The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. The detailed rules for the implementation of the Protocol were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the “Marrakesh Accords”.’

Countries are required to implement national measures to meet targets, but the Protocol also suggests three additional market-based mechanisms for doing so, including: emissions trading, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and through Joint implementation (JI). The aim is for these three mechanisms to foster “green investment”.

Also part of the Protocol is a focus on adaptation to the effects of climate change. An Adaptation Fund was established to finance adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

Activities for the tansfer and access to environmentally sound technology and know-how were considered essential under the UNFCC and the Kyoto Protocol, especially for developing countries to meet emissions targets. Subsequently under the Marrakesh Accords, technology transfer activities have been grouped in a framework following five main themes, which are: technology needs & needs assessments; technology information; enabling environments; capacity building; and mechanisms for technology transfer.

Timeline entry contributed by: Go Maruichi

Source: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change website (UNFCC)