The first diplomatic declaration against global warming is the Kyoto Protocol. The aim of the protocol is to pledge countries to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by ratifying the protocol. There are nations who have failed to ratify the protocol but are considered to create large quantities of greenhouse gases. These countries say, in their support, that their economy is likely to collapse by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. In the execution of the legislation, countries can question the practicability of the protocol and see whether the goals set can be reached and, if not, they should withdraw from the protocol instead of non-ratification without confirming whether or not the protocol would collapse.
The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The main purpose of the convention was to stabilize the emission of greenhouse gases. States agreed that they would lessen the greenhouse emissions in their countries. It was also recognized that developed countries were responsible for emitting high amounts of greenhouse gases. The convention did not provide any plan for action instead it just encouraged countries to lessen their emissions. A forum was held in Berlin that came up with the Berlin mandate, which was mainly a mandate by several countries to set policies, and measure that would see the enforcement of the targets set for reduction of greenhouse gases. A second conference was held in Geneva Switzerland that led to a declaration, which stated the climate change levels were alarming, and needed strong commitments that were legally binding.
There was then held a third conference in Kyoto in Japan whereby countries signed the Kyoto Protocol. The protocol gave targets for greenhouse gas emissions of specific countries. The protocol provided that upon the ratification by 55 industrialized countries it would come into full effect . What did ratification imply? Ratification indicated that, within their national institutions, countries must adopt the protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement negotiated by countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Kyoto Protocol is a protocol that is aimed at reducing emissions of carbon-dioxide gases and greenhouse gases. This is seen whereby the protocol sets targets for countries that emit carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. This carbon gases include gases such as Hydrofluorocarbons, Perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, nitrous oxide and methane. The difference that is seen in the convention and the protocol is that the protocol encouraged industrialized countries to control or otherwise stabilize their greenhouse emissions by committing such countries to do so . The protocol states that if the participating countries continue in the emission of the greenhouse gases they should engage in trading of emission.
The protocol uses both national and international mechanisms to ensure the reduction of greenhouse gases. When it comes to national mechanisms, the protocol encourages countries to enact laws that will enhance the purpose of the protocol and therefore reduce the emission of these gases. On international mechanisms, the protocol has come up with three mechanisms that include emission trading, clean development mechanisms and joint implementation. The protocol Emission trading is the buying of credits from the countries that have managed to exceed the targets set for reduction in order to offset their emissions. The protocol also has several means of monitoring it targets. To begin with is the keeping of a registry whereby countries keep a registry log in the United Nations Secretariat to ensure that countries comply with the rules of the protocol. Secondly, a compliance mechanism ensures that countries observe their specific commitments. There is also adaptation mechanism in the countries that are still developing in that they are provided with assistance to adapt to their climatic changes. In addition, there is reporting whereby countries are required to issue an inventory of their emissions. Finally, there is the presence of an adaptation fund, which is largely financed by proceeds from the operations of the Clean Growth Mechanism and is intended to support projects under the Fund.
Countries are required to sign and ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The signing of the protocol is merely symbolic but ratification binds a country to observe the protocol as it becomes a contractual duty to do so. The protocol was put in place by Vice President Al Gore and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1997; when it reached the Senate for ratification, the Senate did not ratify the protocol. The US is the largest emitter of carbon and greenhouse gases. The U.S.A was given an emission reduction level of 7% but it did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol. The Senate approved a resolution that would provide it with the minimum requirements that would see the senate ratify the protocol. President Bush stated that,
“The protocol is fatally flawed in fundamental ways.”
The United States did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, reason being that it felt that the minimum requirements needed to ratify the protocol were not included in the protocol. Stephen Harper stated,
“I don’t think we should consider signing on to a deal that makes us virtually the sole country in the world that is going to take any action .”
The United States of America also felt that the protocol would not receive sufficient participation from the developing world . According to the United States, developing countries that continue to burn their fossil fuels will likely exceed the amount of emissions of developed countries without any restrictions put in place for developed countries to reduce such emissions. Former President Bush has also had the view that the Kyoto Protocol is expensive and unrealistic.
The treaty is likely to have an impact on the economy of the United States of America. The country does not think that the targets set by the protocol will be reached by the specific countries and if the countries are able to reach the targets that have been laid forth for greenhouse gas emissions then there will be another problem that will arise which is that the protocol will still not be able to slow down the level of global warming. The United States of America has been seen to take the view that the level of greenhouse gases percentages stated under the Kyoto protocol are inaccurate and therefore they cannot be relied upon. The United States has also at some point questioned the existence of global warming; it questioned whether the science behind it was valid.
The effect of the U.S.A non-ratification is that most countries will tend to take monopolistic decisions in that they will start selling only a fraction of their excess permits and in effect, this will result into a maximization of receipts. The decision of the United States not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol brought a change into the market of tradable permits whereby the equilibrium participation was expected to be 50%-100% $ for each tone of carbon emitted if the US participated. Considering that it refused to ratify the protocol the price thus decreases drastically. Countries with excess emission credits will sell only a share of the available receipts to maximize credits . In essence what such countries will be engaging in is the maximization of unused credits so that they could be able to have so many credits by 2040 and in so doing they will have a greater advantage over other countries.
As much as the Kyoto Protocol has its successes, it is also seen to be failing due to the high rates of carbon-dioxide emissions and that of Greenhouse gases. With countries such as the U.S.A refusing to ratify the protocol this means that, the main purpose of the protocol is likely to be defeated as its target is not likely to be met .Most countries think nationally and are likely to concentrate on national boundaries instead of concentrating with the global world and the global environment. Countries have officials who are more targeted and concerned with their country and most of all their careers. This way the countries that emit the least carbon and greenhouse gases are the ones at the greatest risk of suffering. A major challenge that is presented by the protocol is the non-participation of countries that have a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions. These countries include the India, China and the United States of America. This has raised the concern that the protocol may not be able to reach its target. The Kyoto Protocol proposes that countries use alternate means and procedures that would reduce the greenhouse gas emissions . This raises an economic risk to most countries as this means they will have to incorporate a huge technological change in order to be able to reduce their countries emissions. This is in the end may disrupt many economic sectors and it could lead to lack of employment. The protocol provides a means of dealing with the economic impacts of implementation of the protocol that therefore highlights the fact that countries are likely to face economical challenges.
However, the protocol is seen as a document that could reduce the emission of greenhouse gases even if it is at a slow rate. This is said to be better than having no Protocol at all to regulate the emissions of Greenhouse Gases and Carbon dioxide. Countries should assist in the reduction of greenhouse gases by ratifying the protocol so that the protocol can be able to reach its set targets. In ratification countries assist in the realization of the reduction of greenhouse gases. The practicability of the protocol should be tested first before considering the protocol a failed protocol without first trying testing to see if the targets are indeed practicable.
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