TheKyoto treaty is a universal settlement whose operations are connectedwith the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Itbinds parties to the agreement by setting targets for internationalemission reducing targets. Since the developed countries are majorlyaccountable for the exponentially high amounts of greenhouse gassesin the atmosphere, they need to establish laws to control theemissions. Mostly, this is due to a vast number of years whereby theoperations of major industries were active in these nations. Theimplementation of the “common but differentiated responsibilities”protocol by the Kyoto placed a heftier burden on the developedcountries.
Thistreaty was approved on 11th of December in the year 1997 in Kyoto,Japan and was ratified in 2005 in Russia. In 2001, detailed rulesthat were used to implement the protocol were adopted at COP7, inMarrakesh Morocco and were branded the “Marrakesh Accords.” Thefirst commitment period of the treaty was between 2008 and 2012. TheEuropean community together with other recognized 37 industrializedstates dedicated to squeezing the effects of pollution to an averagelevel below 5% as compared to the 1990 levels. All these activitieswere done during the above mentioned period (Legacy of a climatetreaty, 2012).
Duringthe second commitment, an eight-year-period between 2013 and 2020,parties to the agreement committed to lessening the greenhousepopulation by 18% against the 1990 levels. However, it is significantto pinpoint that the arrangement of the parties in the two crucialperiods were different. The protocol dictates that nations aresupposed to meet targets majorly through national objectives.However, there are additional means that are stipulated in thememorandum. These are the three market-based mechanisms, and theyinclude joint implementation, international emanations trading, andthe clean expansion mechanism (Morello, 2014). The primary goal ofthese approaches was to inspire green investment and to aid theinvolved parties to meet their pollution targets cost-effectively.
Objectivesof the Protocol
Themain aim of the Kyoto agreement was to come up with an agreement thatis legally binding, whereby, the participating countries could commitand undertake to tackle the problem of greenhouse gas discharges andglobal warming. The target agreed upon was that by the year 2012there could be an average reduction of 5.2% from the 1990 levels.According to the Treaty, Annex one countries had to fulfill theobligation of reducing greenhouse pollution by the year 2012.
Theultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention onClimate Change is the maintenance of the levels of concentration ofthe greenhouse fumes in the atmosphere to stages that they would curbthe anthropogenic intervention or rather interference with theclimate system. Even though parties in annex one could succeed inachieving their commitments to the first round, much more declines ingreenhouse fume discharges will be required in future so as to makethe concentrations of such gasses in the atmosphere stable (Reeve,2014).
Theelements stated below are entrenched in the reporting and reviewrequirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange:
• Nationalgreenhouse gas inventories:They have data on greenhouse fume productions, such as dischargefactors, methodologies, and activity data used to in theapproximation this pollution.
• NationalCommunications:Have information on state gas fumes which pollute the environment,climate-related strategies, and actions, greenhouse gas predictions,susceptibility and adjustment to climate change, economic support andtechnology transfer to non-Annex I associations, and activities onelevating public awareness on climate alteration (Legacy of a climatetreaty, 2012).
• Biennialreports:Contains evidence and data on the progress in attaining emissionfalls and the facilitation of financial technology and capacityreconstruction through sustenance of non-Annex I Parties.
AnnexI Parties provide National greenhouse gas records yearly followingguidelines for reporting agreed by the conference of the parties andmethods the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) created.In most cases, a select expert review board investigates the reportson a yearly basis by taking into consideration the established andagreed upon evaluation guidelines. A Common Reporting Format (CRF)and National Inventory Report (NIR) tables are involved in thereporting phase (Legacy of a climate, 2012). The national inventoryreport comprises of qualitative and quantitative information, such asan account of methods used, activity data, emission factors andemission trends. Therefore, it gives an evaluation of uncertainties,quality assurance, and control. The CRF tables also involve results,information, and facts from inventory approximations. Annex I partiessubmit National Communications of between 4-5 years, which areusually derived from decisions the Conference of the Parties (COP)after each submission. The members organize and report sporadicallyfollowing the set reporting measures and guidelines (Legacy of aclimate, 2012).
U.Sand the Kyoto Protocol
Today,25% or the greenhouse emission to the atmosphere are from the U.S.the world nations including the U.S have established several laws tocontrol climate change. However, despite these efforts, the globe iscurrently experiencing a 1.5% growth of greenhouse gasses emissionsannually (Iwata & Okada, 2014). In 2011, the dedication tocontrolling climate change suffered a setback as some West countriessuch the U.S decided to retreat from the Kyoto treaty. The reasonthat states provided for withdrawing from the protocol were that mostof the developing nations were not participating in the Kyoto treaty.The West made the decision based on the notion that in the futurethese developing countries emission of greenhouse gasses is likely toaugment in the coming decades. For instance, some environmentalcritics have forecasted that by 2025third world countries willcontribute more than half of the universe’s greenhouse gassesemission (Legacy of a climate, 2012).
However,the US and other nations are still committed to supporting a cleanenvironment. For example, the country has signed a new treaty withmany governments from the Asian continent named the Asian PacificPartnership on Clean Development and Climate. The aim of this pact isto permit the member parties to establish alternative approaches tohandling the climate change problem. The agreement is based ontechnological operations that aim in making certain that nuclearpower, coal, and fossil fuels are produced in a cleaner way than theone utilized currently. Additionally, the treaty supports carbonsinks introductions as a means of decreasing CO2 emissions (Legacy ofa climate, 2012). When compared to the Kyoto treaty, this new pact isdifferent does not concentrate in reducing of emitted greenhousesgasses in an annual period. Some of the countries involved in thisnew agreement include China, the U.S, South Korea, Australia, Japan,and India. Nonetheless, the established new pact is not muchdifferent from the Kyoto treaty regarding its objectives. The newprotocol is dedicated to some of the Kyoto Protocol goals such ascurbing climate change through voluntary efforts as opposed tomandatory decreasing of emissions. According to the U.S, the newagreement is an improvement as opposed to a challenge to the Kyotoprotocol. The country states that most of the new treaty members werepreviously not members or they have already signed the Kyoto pact.The U.S administration adds that by focusing on cleaner technologiesinvestment, the country manages not only to accomplish the setnational goals but also contributes significantly in decreasing theemissions from other forms of fossil fuels (Legacy of a climate,2012). Moreover, the focus results in enhancement of economicdevelopment and poverty reductions. The new pact has received supportand criticism since many U.S citizens felt that the former presidentGeorge W. Bush should have endorsed the Kyoto protocol (Fisher,2015). Most environmental safety supports believed that ratifying theKyoto protocol is vital because to control global warming moreefforts to reduce greenhouses gasses emissions should be put inplace.
The105th US Senate and the Byrd-Hagel Resolution of 1997
Accordingto the 1997 Byrd-Hagel Resolution of the Senate, President Clintonwas warned that any climate change treaty that did not involve thedeveloping countries or was likely to cause massive harm to the U.Seconomy was against the U.S national interests. During the veto, thesenate house unanimously voted for the resolution without anyopposition. The decision was made before the 1997 Kyoto protocolintroduction, and even today it remains the position of the countrywhenever issues of global warming arise including the new pact withAsian nations (Legacy of a climate, 2012). According to the Senateresolution, the U.S is required to avoid being part of any agreementthat involved the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change orpartakes in the 1997 Kyoto negotiations and other future agreements.The Senate opposed such agreements because of their anticipatedeffects of limiting or decreasing emitted greenhouse gasses affectingthe Annex I Parties unless such pact was also to impact the thirdworld countries within the given compliance time. They asserted thatvarious compliance period commitments would likely lead to massivelydenting the U.S economy.
Furthermore,the Senate agreed that ant pact or treaty that would require thehouse’s support for ratification must have supportive elaborationsthat are detailed concerning the regulatory or legal actions thatwould have to be established for the protocol implementation.Additionally, a comprehensive financial costs analysis, as well asother effects that the U.S Economy will encounter or incur throughsuch treaty implementation, has to be provided before anyratification takes place (Legacy of a climate, 2012).
Toconclude, the issue of climate change is a significant challenge thatrequires constant commitment from all countries to tackle. To makethe world a better place that the future generations can enjoymeasures to curb the problem of climate change and global warmingneeds to handle in a timely way. The UN is at the forefront ofensuring that its union members are committed to saving the worldaltogether. For instance, the disappearance and extinction of somespecies from the globe are a major concern that highlights thedetrimental effects of climate change. From the sea planktons, seals,to the polar bears the erroneous consequences of climate change areevident for everyone to witness. Moreover, other natural disasterssuch as floods, droughts, and hurricanes among others that result inmassive losses of human lives and properties are all evidence thatclimate change is a pandemic in our society. The UN through its Kyototreaty has established measures to ensure that such impacts areminimized. Thus, countries should adhere to the Kyoto protocol tomake certain that greenhouse gasses emission and other products thatpollute the environment are regulated or eliminated. One way that theworld can achieve this is by keeping the environment safe. Forinstance, people should be encouraged to avoid polluting theatmosphere and develop habits that promote a safe environment such asrecycling.
Fisher,S. (2015). Federalism`s Fractured Decision Making in the KyotoProtocol. Politics& Policy, 43(1),1-29.
Iwata,H., & Okada, K. (2014). Greenhouse gas emissions and the role ofthe Kyoto Protocol. EnvironmentalEconomics and Policy Studies, 16(4),325-342.
Legacyof a climate treaty: After Kyoto. (2012). Nature,491(7426),653-653. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/491653a
Morello,L. (2014). Climate summit previews push for new global treaty: UnitedNations meeting aims to spark enthusiasm for a 2015 emissionspact. Nature, 513(7518),289-290.
Reeve,R. (2014). Policinginternational trade in endangered species: the CITES treaty andcompliance.London: Routledge.