This page has been archived, and may no longer be up to date

Greenpeace Czech Republic marks Kyoto coming into force with a large banner reading "Kyoto for the Earth" in the front of famous National Museum in the centre of Prague. The museum is a place marking historic and symbolic events in recent Czech history.

Kyoto

On 16 February 2005, in the culmination of ten years of sometimes exhausting and often frustrating negotiations, the Kyoto Protocol became law. Thirty-five industrialised countries along with the European Union are now legally bound to reduce or limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

TheKyoto Protocol is the world's only international agreement with bindingtargets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  As such, it is theprimary tool governments of the world have to address climatechange.  Specifically, the Protocol requires a nominal 5 percentreduction in emissions by developed countries world-wide relative to1990 levels, by 2008-2012.  To meet this world-wide target, eachcountry is obligated to its individual target - the European Union(EU[15]) 8 percent, Japan 6 percent, etc.  These individualtargets are derived from past greenhouse gas emissions.

Inaddition to legally binding national emissions targets, the KyotoProtocol includes various trading mechanisms.  Now that theProtocol is law, formal preparations will begin to create a 'global'carbon market for emissions trading by 2008, and the so-called'flexible mechanisms' - the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and JointImplementation (JI) - will become operational.

The KyotoProtocol was originally agreed on in 1997 - although many crucialdetails were left to later talks.  In order to enter into force(become law) the Protocol required ratification by at least 55countries accounting for at least 55 percent of the carbon dioxideemissions from Annex B (industrialised) nations.  So far, 129countries have ratified or acceded to the Protocol.  It passed thenumber of countries test in 2002, and finally passed the second hurdlewith ratification by the Russian Federation in late 2004.

Notablyabsent from the Protocol is the US; which shows no signs of ratifyingthe treaty, at least not as long as the Bush administration is in power- even though the US is the world's biggest greenhouse gaspolluter.  Australia, Liechtenstein, Croatia and Monaco also haveyet to complete the ratification process.

The Clean Development Mechanism (Article 12)

TheClean Development Mechanism is designed to generate emissions reductioncredits for Annex I countries that finance projects in non-Annex Icountries who are part of the treaty.  For example, Canadafinancing an energy efficiency project in China, or Japan financing arenewable energy project in Morocco. These projects must have theapproval of the CDM Executive Board, and in addition to generatingmeasurable emissions reductions against a business-as-usual baseline,they should contribute to sustainable development in the developingcountry partners.

Joint Implementation (Article 3)

JointImplementation allows industrialised countries with emissions reductiontargets to cooperate in meeting them.  For example,German-financed energy efficiency projects in Russia, orNorwegian-financed renewable energy projects in Hungary, which generateemissions reductions, under specific circumstances can be credited tothe country that finances them.  In theory, this is a moreeconomically efficient means of generating the same overall emissionsreductions for industrialised countries.

See also 'Sinks' and other possible pitfalls.

Will the Kyoto Protocol "save the climate"?

TheKyoto Protocol is an important first step - as it was intended tobe.  It has always been recognized that the Kyoto Protocol willnot be enough on its own.  To avoid dangerous climate change theworld needs at least 30 percent cuts by industrialized countries by2020, increasing to 70-80 percent cuts by mid-century.  Anythingless than this will consign our children and theirs to a veryunpleasant and very unstable world.

The decisions thatgovernments, industry and civil society make over the next decade ortwo will be decisive. You have a say in those decision, and your helpis needed.  See our Take Action page for what you can do.

More information:

Kyoto pitfalls

International negotiations - Greenpeace position statements and first hand reports from international meetings.

Text of the Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol becomes law - Greenpeace marks the event and calls for action around the world.

The latest updates

 

From typhoon hit Philippines, a call for climate justice

Blog entry by Aaron Gray-Block | 11 December, 2014

Smashed houses, fallen trees and streets littered with debris greeted us when Greenpeace arrived in Dolores, Eastern Samar, on Tuesday after Typhoon Hagupit made a direct hit on the seaside town. Much of the region's crops had been...

Nature does not negotiate: climate catastrophe is with us now!

Blog entry by Kumi Naidoo | 7 December, 2014 25 comments

As Typhoon Hagupit hits the Philippines, one of the biggest peacetime evacuations in history has been launched to prevent a repeat of the massive loss of life which devastated communities when Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the same area...

The power of the energy transition is spreading fast

Blog entry by Matjaž Dovečar | 5 December, 2014

Greenpeace brought mayors from all over Europe to Bavaria to show them the best practices of German energy transition. First impressions: the 'Energiewende' is contagious! We travelled with eight  mayors from Hungary, Turkey,...

A rainbow from Machu Picchu to Düsseldorf

Blog entry by Sven Teske | 1 December, 2014 1 comment

Peru! What comes to mind when you think of Peru? Right! The mysterious Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, which attract and inspire so many people from around the world, and still have scientists puzzling over their origin. Last night,...

Government spying undermines climate action

Blog entry by Andrew Kerr | 27 November, 2014 1 comment

Unless you’ve been living in a hole in the ground or in a galaxy far, far away you won’t have missed media revelations about government security services snooping on our every communication. Personal phone calls and e-mails are...

Social PreCOP – More than just a document at stake

Blog entry by Mauro Fernandez | 13 November, 2014

The Social PreCOP held in Venezuela left civil society, governments and the delegation of the hosting country with mixed feelings. Can I accept the outcome as is? The answer is 'no'. After a long fight to establish an official...

Sadness turns to joy as Turkish coal project halted

Blog entry by Deniz Bayram | 12 November, 2014 6 comments

The community of the western Turkish village of Yirca has experienced a rollercoaster of sadness and elation in recent days, winning an important court battle against a coal project but losing 6,000 valuable olive trees. Just...

On World Energy Day let's remind the EU that people want ambitious EU 2030 targets

Blog entry by Virag Kaufer | 22 October, 2014 5 comments

Our ship, the Arctic Sunrise is back with a mission. After a year in Russian custody for a peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic, she is now released, repaired and back in the water. Once again she will challenge reckless...

Assaulted for protecting olive trees

Blog entry by Andrew Davies | 21 October, 2014 7 comments

Villagers and activists were assaulted, handcuffed and hospitalized today while protecting olive trees at the site of a proposed coal plant in Turkey. The Kolin Group wants the olive trees cut down to make way for a new coal power...

While politicians are deciding our energy future, let's tell them: Listen to people...

Blog entry by Virag Kaufer | 3 October, 2014 2 comments

In three short weeks, on the 23rd and 24th of October, Europe's political leaders will meet in Brussels to agree on a European energy policy that will last for decades to come. These politicians are under pressure, especially after...

1 - 10 of 1606 results.