After 12 years of commitment, Japan shocked all of us by announcing at the beginning of the week that they were thinking of leaving the Kyoto Protocol! We knew we had to work quickly to show Kyoto that there was still some love in the house, so along with our tcktcktck partners, we organized a "Hug Kyoto" event at the UN climate conference in Cancun. There was a lot of love in the house with hundreds of folks(including delegates) stopping to give our Kyoto reps a hug and take a pic.

Not sure why abandoning Kyoto is such a bad idea? Take a read through the questions below and if you have another question about Kyoto, leave us a comment and we will get a campaigner to answer.

Q – What is the Kyoto Protocol?

A - The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement that sets legally binding emission targets for 37 industrialised countries and Europe.

Q – Why is it so important?

A – global greenhouse gases must be reduced if we are to avoid climate chaos and it is only fair that rich countries, who are mainly responsible for the current high levels, act first. The Kyoto Protocol establishes the rules for these industrialized country reductions and sets out the targets and timetables by which they must be achieved. It is a huge step towards a truly global agreement.  

Q – How long is the Kyoto Protocol “good for?”

A – The Kyoto Protocol is a treaty and once signed treaties are binding for all of the parties involved. However, The Kyoto Protocol currently binds industrialized countries to reduce emissions for the period 2008-2012 ( known as the first Commitment Period).

Q - Why is Japan talking about leaving now?

A - Unless the Kyoto Protocol is extended for a further ‘Commitment Period’ there will be no legal duty for industrialized countries to cut their pollution. It has been recognized that we need an international agreement that can deliver the serious emission cuts that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has told us are mandatory to combat climate change. Instead of working to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol, Japan is using the flimsy excuse that the Kyoto Protocol isn’t strong enough to walk away from the commitments it has already made and to avoid making more in the future.