Kyoto Protocol |

Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international environmental treaty aiming to achieve stabilization of four of the six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide & sulphur hexafluoride).  In most developed countries including the UK and all other EU countries the Kyoto Protocol also aims to reduce hydroflurocarbons and perfluorocarbons.

“The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”  
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The Kyoto Protocol is a United Nations protocol and is legally binding to those countries which sign it.  It came into force in 2005 and to date 183 countries have signed it and ratified it.  Notable by its absence is the USA which has signed it but not ratified it – making the entire Kyoto Protocol largely symbolic, some argue, as the USA is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide.
Kyoto's main objectives for the world's industrialized countries are to reduce greenhouse gases by 5.2% compared to the levels of 1990, with different targets for different countries, and it introduced the concept of carbon trading.
Further talks between the Kyoto Protocol signatories have taken place since Kyoto to agree a future framework once the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.  Talks in Vienna, Bali and Poznan have all been geared to agreeing a new framework at the end of this year at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 to be held in Copenhagen.

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