The Kyoto Protocol

Reaching global agreements; the 1997 Kyoto Protocol

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol is a global treaty which aims to cut carbon emissions by 2012. The initial conference was held on 11th December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. It involved 175 countries. 

How will it cut carbon emission?

  1. Industrialized countries have a target of cutting their carbon emission by 5% from their 1990 levels by 2008-12. The targets vary with high polluting such as EU have a target of 8%, 5% for countries like Japan which produce average amounts of emissions and some extremely low emissions countries like Iceland have been allowed to increase their emissions.


It does not include the whole world and big polluters like Australia are not signed up

The USA which is responsible for 25% of the world’s emissions withdrew under the reign of George W Bush.

Many of the countries are off target with high-emitting countries increasing their emissions by 8%. 

However, the UK actually cut emissions by 3%.

Many developing countries never actually used real emissions and calculated annualy.

Many climatologists believe 5% is too low emissions must cut by 60% but countries are struggling with 5% how will they manage 60%.

Implications for the UK…

  • A change from coal to cleaner fuels like wind has reduced emissions.
  • A renewable energy policy to produce 10% of electricity, has meant that sources such as wind power is closer to targets than other forms.
  • The government taxed petrol in order to cut demand however this just resulted in protests.
  • Big reductions in emissions can be made through the usage of nuclear power stations however opinion polls show that the public is against this.

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