The protocol which was intended at committing the industrialized countries at reducing the emissions of the green house gases was adopted in Japan at a place called Kyoto and hence the protocol is known as the Kyoto Protocol. Its adoption was on the eleventh day of December 1997. The protocol did not come into force until the sixteenth day of February 2005. Kyoto Protocol has a total of one hundred and eighty four members who have so far ratified it to date (Faure, Gupta, & Nentjes pp 98).
The Kyoto Protocol
The international accord known as the Kyoto Protocol, which is concerned with climate change is highly associated with the convention framework of the United Nations dealing with issues regarding the global change in climate. The main feature of this protocol is that it seeks to place some targets which will be binding to the European community and the thirty seven most industrialized countries in the world to reduce the emission of gases that have green house effect to the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol actually commits the developed countries to reduce the emission of the green house gasses as opposed to the United Nations convention which just encourages the countries that are industrialized to stabilize the emissions of the green house gases (GHG) (Grubb, Brack, & Energy and Environmental Programmes (Royal Institute of International Affairs pp 125).
The Kyoto Protocol recognizes the fact that the developed countries which are also the industrialized ones are responsible for the prevailing high levels emissions of green house gases in the atmosphere after having been active industrially for close to two centuries. More burdens are placed on more industrialized countries by the Kyoto Protocol under the differentiated but common responsibilities principle (Shogren, pp 134).
The United States of America was the major opponent of the Kyoto Protocol as it perceived it as a means of not only slowing down its massive economy but the implementation of the protocol would have grave consequences to the economy of the US. This made the United States to pull out of the protocol in 2001 which was a major set back in achieving the objectives of the protocol. United States also argued that the protocol would also commit the developing countries to reduce their green house gases emissions and thus opposed it. India and China also opposed the Kyoto protocol although they are also major producers of green house gases (Shogren, pp 187).
The proponents of the Kyoto Protocol on the other hand argue that continued emissions of the green house gases, especially by the industrialized nations have resulted into global warming a phenomenon that has brought rise to climate change. There is therefore need to commit the industrialized countries to reduce their emissions of green house gases so as to reduce their effect on both global warming and climate change. Climate change is responsible for the increased and more severe weather related calamities such as tropical cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts and also has resulted into the rise of the sea level which has dire consequences on life on the planet. Such calamities have in most cases led to loss of many lives and also loss of property and there is therefore need to reduce such. The most effective way of curbing global warming and hence climate change is reducing the emissions of the green house gases (Shogren, pp 256).
Generally, the Kyoto Protocol is viewed as a very significant step towards reducing the emission of green house gases into the atmosphere. The protocol also provides crucial architectures for international agreements in future regarding change of climate. By 2012 which will mark the end of the Kyoto Protocol, first commitment period, there will be need to develop another framework which will be international. The new framework will have to be ratified and negotiated in a manner that is capable of delivering a significant reduction in emission of green house gases.
Faure, Michael G., Gupta, Joyeeta & Nentjes A.; Climate change and the Kyoto protocol: the role of institutions and instruments to control global change (2003): Elgar Publishing, ISBN 1843762455.
Grubb, Michael, Brack, Duncan & Energy and Environmental Programmes (Royal Institute of International Affairs); The Kyoto protocol: a guide and assessment (199): Earthscan, ISBN 1853835811.
Shogren, Jason F.; The benefits and costs of the Kyoto Protocol (1999): American Enterprise Institute, ISBN 0844771341.