By 1995, emission reductions provisions in the convention were inadequate that was realized by the countries. They launched negotiations to strengthen the global response to climate change, and, two years later, adopted the Kyoto protocol. Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto in Japan on December 11 of 1997. Because of a complex ratification process, it entered into force on 16th February 2005. It is an international treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Kyoto Protocol applies to 6 greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride. It is an extension to the 1992 UNFCCC. The major difference between the protocol and therefore the convention is that while the Convention encouraged industrialized countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to try to do so.
Kyoto Protocol is predicated on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, keeping in mind the socio-economic development of the concerned countries and therefore the polluter pays principle. It is one of the very important international environment protocols.
The commitment period of the protocols first started in 2008 and led to 2012. 36 countries had participated within the first commitment period. 9 countries were chosen for flexibility mechanisms since their national emissions were greater than their targets. Hence these countries funded emissions reductions in different countries.
Although the 36 developed countries had reduced their emissions, global emissions increased by 32 to stand proud of 1990 to 2010. The financial crisis of 2007-08 was one among the main contributors to the reduction in emissions.
Carbon trading, the name given to the exchange of emission permits. This exchange may take place within the economy or may take the form of international transactions. Two types of Carbon trading are Emission trading and Offset trading.
Which are the countries that are not parties of the Kyoto Protocol?
- The United States of America
- South Sudan
The objectives of Kyoto mechanisms-
- Its objective is to facilitate, promote and enforce compliance with the commitments under the protocol.
- Stimulate sustainable development through technology transfer and investment.
- Help countries with Kyoto commitments to meet their targets by reducing emissions or removing carbon from the atmosphere in other countries in a cost-effective way.
- Encourage the private sector and developing countries to contribute to emission reduction efforts.
It is legally binding on all the members.
Only the members of UNFCCC can become part of the Kyoto Protocol.
Kyoto Protocol was adopted at the 3rd session of UNFCCC
To fulfil the targets of the Kyoto Protocol, member countries cannot include international shipping and international aviation
Countries can use few things like, Land Use (LU), land-use change (LUC), and Forestry to meet their Kyoto targets.
India at the Kyoto Protocol
India was excluded from legally binding commitments on greenhouse gas emissions.
India focused the differentiation between developed and developing nations concerning the burden of responsibility for climate action.
India successfully defended its duty on socio-economic development while concurrently forcing developed countries of the Annex I category to take more responsibilities on curtailing greenhouse gas emissions.
Non-Compliance of Kyoto and Penalties-
- Failure to comply with the Protocol carries penalty.
- If a country does not meet the requirements for measurements and reporting said country looses the privilege of gaining credit through joint implementation projects.
- If a country goes above its emissions cap, and does not try to make up the difference through any of the mechanisms available, then said country must make up the difference plus an additional thirty percent during the next period.
- The country could also be banned from participating in the “cap and trade” program.
 7th Revised Edition Shankar IAS, Environment 253 (2019).
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