What is the Kyoto Protocol simply explained?

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty adopted in 1997 under the auspices of the United Nations to combat global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the first binding agreement under international law to curb climate change, it obliges the participating countries to reduce their emissions of certain greenhouse gases and thus minimize the greenhouse effect.

The objectives and content of the Kyoto Protocol

The main objective of the Kyoto Protocol was to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases in industrialized countries by an average of 5.2% by 2008-2012 compared to the base year 1990. These commitments were distributed differently among the signatory states and were to be achieved through various flexible mechanisms.

‍Whichcountries are in the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto agreement was approved by 191 countries, including all member states of the European Union and major emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa. The USA has not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol. In 2013, Canada withdrew from the Protocol.

Emissions trading, CDM and JI

The Protocol introduced three flexible mechanisms: emissions trading, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and Joint Implementation (JI). These mechanisms allowed industrialized countries to achieve emission reductions partly through projects in other countries, which was intended to reduce the cost of reducing emissions and at the same time promote sustainable development in developing and emerging countries.

Is the Kyoto Protocol still valid?

The first commitment period of the Kyoto Agreement ran from 2008 to 2012. A second commitment period, known as the Doha Amendment, was adopted in 2012 and runs from 2013 to 2020. However, not all countries have ratified this amendment, and with the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in 2016, the focus of international climate policy has shifted.

From Kyoto to the Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Agreement builds on the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, but expands it considerably by including all countries - both developed and developing - and committing them to making nationally determined contributions to climate protection, which are to be updated and tightened every five years. Although the Kyoto Protocol technically still exists and has legal force until the end of its second commitment period, the focus of global climate protection efforts is now on implementing the Paris Agreement.