Home   »   Environment   »   Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol, Objectives, History, Principle and Features

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol was formally adopted on December 11th, 1997, but it wasn’t until after a protracted ratification procedure that it went into force on February 16th, 2005. As of right present, there are 192 Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The UNFCCC’s third Conference of Parties (COP3) session, which took place in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, and saw the passage of the Kyoto Protocol, is referred to as COP3.

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions and the amount of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere is the goal of the Kyoto Protocol. The fundamental tenet of this accord was that industrialized countries should reduce their emissions. It is a crucial component of the UPSC Syllabus for environment and ecology. All candidates must have a thorough understanding of the Kyoto Protocol’s history, guiding principles, operating procedures, and other elements.

Kyoto Protocol 1997

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is implemented thanks to the Kyoto Protocol, a global agreement. The UNFCCC, a multilateral environmental convention that became effective on March 21, 1994 at the Earth Summit, is the first set of international laws intended to carry out its provisions of combating climate change. Its purpose is to combat global warming by bringing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations down to a level that would stop dangerous human climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol adheres to the Convention’s annex-based structure and is based on its rules and provisions. Because it acknowledges that industrialized nations are mostly to blame for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere, it merely binds them and lays a greater weight on them in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities.

The UNFCCC’s goal of preventing global warming by lowering greenhouse gas concentrations was carried out under the Kyoto Protocol. There are currently 192 parties engaged.

Read Also: List of Environment Conventions and Protocols

Kyoto Protocol History

The Kyoto Protocol was established at the third UNFCCC country (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) conference, which took place in Japan in 1997. It was approved on December 11th, 1997. It became effective on February 16th, 2005, when Russia ratified it. Kyoto is the name of the Japanese city where the protocol was negotiated, but it is also frequently used to refer to the agreement itself in conversations on climate change.

Principles of the Kyoto Protocol

The concept of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR)” is the foundation of the Kyoto Protocol. It holds industrialized nations accountable for lowering existing emissions because they previously contributed to the atmosphere’s present concentration of greenhouse gases. The responsibilities for different countries have been take in two ways as per Kyoto Protocol, According to CBDR,

  • Historical Polluter
  • Resent Polluters
Principles of the Kyoto Protocol
Historical Polluter – Developed Countries Resent Polluters – Developing Countries
  • Since the Industrial Revolution, the world’s largest developed nations have been contaminating the environment. These nations consist of the US, UK, France, Japan, Russia, and others.
  • The CBDR requires industrialized nations like the US, UK, Russia, and others to make greater contributions to the implementation of GHG reduction strategies.
  • They must accept specific, legally-binding caps on GHG emissions in order to do this. donating money to projects that reduce GHG emissions in underdeveloped and least-developed nations.
  • Developing nations that have recently increased their pollution are those that have done so since the 1950s.
  • These comprise nations such as China, India, Brazil, etc. Such nations should take all reasonable steps to reduce their GHG emissions.
  • However, these nations are not constrained, and every action they take is voluntary.

Target and Responsibility of Kyoto protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is intended to help nations cope with the negative effects of climate change. It makes it easier to create and use strategies that can help people be more resilient to the effects of climate change. The Kyoto Protocol’s requirement that the European Union and 37 industrialized nations reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one of its key aspects.

On the grounds that the developed nations who caused the issue should be the ones to take the initiative to solve it, the convention does not establish reduction goals for poor nations. However, in the future, rapidly growing economies like those of China and India will have a significant impact on GHG emissions.

Targeted Gases under the Kyoto Protocol
  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
  • Sulphur Hexafluoride (SF6)
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)

Member Countries of Kyoto Protocol

The agreement, which has been approved by 184 countries, and its wide support provide the fight against climate change enormous worldwide momentum.

Member Countries of Kyoto Protocol
Particulars Details
Annexe I Includes countries as

  • Developed Countries (US, UK, Russia etc.)
  • Economies in Transition (Eastern European Countries, Turkey, Ukraine etc.)
Annexe II
  • Developed countries (Annex II is a subset of Annex I).
  • Required to provide financial and technical support to the EITs and developing countries to assist them in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
Annexe B
  • Annexe I Parties with first or second-round Kyoto protocol greenhouse gas emissions targets.
  • The first-round targets apply over the years 2008–2012, and the second-round Kyoto targets apply from 2013 to 2020.
  • Compulsory binding targets reduce GHG emissions.
Non-Annexe I
  • Parties to the UNFCCC are not listed in Annex I of the Convention (mostly low-income developing countries).
  • No binding targets to reduce GHG emissions.
Least Developed Countries No binding targets to reduce GHG emissions.

Mechanisms Kyoto Protocol 

The Kyoto Protocol’s provisions make it easier to switch from using older, dirtier technology to using newer, cleaner systems and infrastructure, which has apparent longer-term advantages and is more cost-effective. Countries that are required to fulfill the Kyoto targets must do so primarily through domestic action, or by cutting their domestic emissions. However, they can partially achieve their goals through three “market-based mechanisms,” sometimes known as the Kyoto mechanisms. The mechanisms of Kyoto Protocol includes the following:

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Developed nations produce more pollution and lose carbon credits. They give poor and least developed nations financial support so that they can generate sustainable energy (solar, wind, etc.) and earn some carbon credits, enabling them to comply with their Kyoto Quota (Kyoto units) emissions obligations without breaking any rules.

Joint implementation (JI)

Through this mechanism, a nation that has agreed to reduce its emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol (an “Annex B Party”) can acquire emission reduction units (ERUs), each of which is equal to one tonne of CO2, from an emission-reduction project in another “Annex B Party” and apply those ERUs toward reaching their Kyoto target. As the host Party gains from foreign investment and knowledge transfer, the joint implementation gives Parties a flexible and economical way to fulfill a portion of their Kyoto commitments.

International Emissions Trading

These emissions can be sold to industrialized nations that create more than is appropriate by nations who emit less than is permitted. Reducing emissions becomes profitable commercially in this way.

Doha Amendment to Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol’s Doha Amendment was approved for a second commitment period, beginning in 2013 and extending through 2020, on December 8 in Doha, Qatar. 147 Parties had deposited their acceptance instruments as of October 28, 2020. As a result, the need of 144 documents of acceptance for the Doha Amendment’s entrance into force was met. The modification became effective on December 31, 2020.

A total of 37 developed nations and economies were in transition during the first commitment period, and the European Community pledged to reducing GHG emissions to an average of 5% below 1990 levels. Parties agreed to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18% below 1990 levels over the course of the second commitment period, which runs from 2013 to 2020.

Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement

The two such agreements as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreements although they both were designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their implementation strategies and target audiences were very different. Within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Paris Agreement addressed reducing greenhouse gas emissions whereas Kyoto Protocol is a treaty that commits state parties to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases based on scientist consensus. Check the table below to know more on Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement:

Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement
Kyoto Protocol Paris Agreement
It was established in 1997 It was signed in 2016
The Kyoto Protocol primarily targeted industrialised nations as they were considered the primary emitters of greenhouse gases. Developing nations were exempt from the Kyoto Protocol The Paris Agreement required both developing and developed nations to reduce their greenhouse emissions
The objective of the Kyoto Protocol was to reduce greenhouse gases  to 5.2%, below pre-1990 levels The objective of the Paris Agreement was to prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
The Kyoto Protocol was aimed at 6 major greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs, PFCs and nitrous oxide The Paris Agreement was focused on reducing all anthropogenic greenhouse gases
The first phase of the Kyoto Protocol lasted until 2012 The goals of the Paris Agreement are to be achieved between 2025 and 2030

Kyoto Protocol UPSC

In order to address global climate change, the Kyoto Protocol was a global agreement created under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Even though it is no longer in force, the Kyoto Protocol is still relevant for the majority of difficult tests. It is a crucial subject in the UPSC Syllabus’ Environment and Ecology portion. The Kyoto Protocol UPSC subtopics that are listed above are occasionally brought up in the UPSC Prelims and Mains tests.

Sharing is caring!

Kyoto Protocol FAQs

Who launched Kyoto Protocol?

The Protocol was adopted by COP 3 of UNFCCC on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan.

What are the principle elements of Kyoto Protocol?

Principles element of the Kyoto Protocol are:
Carbon dioxide (CO2);
Methane (CH4);
Nitrous oxide (N2O);
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs); and.
Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

When did India join the Kyoto Protocol?

India signed the Kyoto Protocol on 26 August 2002.

What is the Doha Amendment?

The Doha Amendment establishes a second commitment period (2013–20) for the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Is Kyoto Protocol binding on India?

Developing nations were asked to comply voluntarily, and more than 100 developing countries (non-annex countries), including China and India, were exempted from the Kyoto agreement altogether.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *