What Is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto protocol was established in 1997 and regrouped 55 industrial countries. The objective was to respond to the problem of global warming and find ways to manage it. Since global warming is related to human activities, the emission of greenhouse gases can be controlled.

One of the conditions to make the protocol active was to gather 55 countries responsible for the emission of 55% of the greenhouse gases in the world. More precisely, the objective was to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by more then 5.2% from the level of 1990. Today, the Kyoto protocol is still very much active including 156 countries, but the United States and Australia have not ratified it.

Kyoto asks a reduction of 5.2% as an average because the different countries don’t have the same percentage. Some of them even have the option to increase their level of emissions, but only by a limited amount. Percentages can vary between -21% to +27% and it will take place between 2008 and 2012

Many ways are used to accomplish the objective but the most important one is the exchange of emission rights. A country can seek carbon credit, which is a permit to go over their percentage, if they are able to reduce greenhouse gases in another country. Since the problem is in the air and not in a specific area, it will have practically the same result on the planet if it is done outside the country. The idea is to reduce the gases at the lowest cost.

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