What is it about?

The Kyoto Protocol, established at the Conference of Parties (COP) in Kyoto, Japan in 1998, mandated industrialized countries to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fulfil "quantified emission limitation and reduction" (QELAR) targets. However, the lack of an adequate number of countries willing to accept the Protocol was a major obstacle to its implementation. In this publication, the author explains that the concept of QELAR did not sit well with industrialized nations, who considered the economic and political consequences of decreasing emissions. This continued for a while before the Protocol was adapted in their favor, with grace periods and minimal emission reductions. Since its introduction, the Kyoto Protocol has sparked debate, with experts labelling it "biased" and "tragic."

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Why is it important?

Industrialized nations postponed the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, encouraging financial support for emission-reduction initiatives in developing countries to cut costs. A "trading mechanism" that allowed rich countries to buy "emission credits" to compensate for their excess GHG emissions was another controversial arrangement. Participation in QELAR was largely disregarded by developing countries like China and India, which blamed industrialized countries for higher GHG emissions and refused to shoulder the burden. KEY TAKEAWAY: While the countries backing the Kyoto Protocol determine its success, environmentalists have argued that the agreement falls short of the goals.

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This page is a summary of: Institutionalizing the Kyoto Climate Accord, Environmental Policy and Law, August 1999, IOS Press, DOI: 10.3233/epl-29406.
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