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Posted by on Feb 12, 2014 in Kyoto Protocol |

Critical Analysis of Kyoto Protocol

Although Kyoto Protocol is a good initiative to reduce emissions of green house gases but still has lots of issues that need to be cured for actual improvement of environment and for sustainable or inclusive growth all around the world.

Key Issues

  • Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) – As Kyoto Protocol allows that industrialized countries can generate CERs through CDM projects to reach their commitment level, it means they are paying to pollute. Because after financing CDM projects in developing countries, they are free to continue emit at their original level domestically.   
  • Aviation and Shipping – The GHG emissions from Marine transportation and International Aviation are not considered under Kyoto Protocol. As International Shipping and aviation combined constitute an estimated 5-7% of total GHG emissions (in 2009).
  • Flawed Model – The Russian scientist challenges Kyoto Protocol for its framework to cut in CO2 emissions as CO2 is not the major factor for global warming. They emphasized that water vapours are more potent factor in greenhouse effect and their concentration is 5-10 times more than CO2 in atmosphere. They said that the level of CO2 had fluctuated greatly over last 400,00 yrs and level of CO2 rise for 500-600 yrs after climate warmed up. So high level of CO2 is result of that and not cause of global warming.
  • LULUCF – Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry is a UN programme to reduce conversion of forest to agriculture use. The Kyoto Protocol states that parties in Annex I can use reduction units from LULUCF (such as through forestation or reforestation) to meet the binding target. It is highly controversial as accelerated biospheric carbon sequestration is not comparable to reducing direct emissions to the atmosphere as the long term survival of biological sinks cannot be guaranteed.
  • Base Year (1990) – The countries had different achievements in energy efficiency in 1990, as Russia and European Countries are at their worst level of emissions. The Russia’s commitment to sustain emission at 1990 level under Kyoto Protocol is easily met without taking any mitigation action. But Japan’s emission level was better than most developed countries at 1990.
  • The USA has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol because there are no binding targets for developing countries (contains almost 80% of Population) including major population centers such as China & India and any such agreement will harm economy of United States. The USA constitutes about 36% of total emissions of parties included in Annex I.
  • The Canada also denounces the Kyoto Protocol in 2011 to get rid of financial penalties under treaty on non compliance with targets. The Canada has binding target to reduce emissions to 6% below of 1990 levels but in 2009 emissions calculated was 17% higher to level of 1990.
  • The Economists says that targets of Kyoto Protocol were not derived from a clear cost to benefit analysis, but emerged from a political process.
  • As per world bank views, The Kyoto Protocol provided very less financial support to developing countries to fight against climate change and reduce emission by using sustainable development.


  • Per Capita Emission – The system of Per Capita emission shall be used under Kyoto Protocol rather than reduction of emission as a % of base year. Also reduction in Per Capita emission make developed countries more responsible towards reducing emission at domestic level rather than depending on trading of emission reduction units.
  • The major industrialized countries USA and Canada shall be persuaded to become party of Kyoto Protocol otherwise it will be really difficult to reduce overall emission level of the world.
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