The Kyoto Protocol

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The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is a historical agreement in that it was the first international agreement in which many of the world’s industrial nations concluded a verifiable agreement to reduce their emissions of six greenhouse gases in order to prevent global warming. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing emissions. These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. 184 Parties of the Convention have ratified its Protocol to date. It is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Logo for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The major distinction between the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is that while the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so. Recognising that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity, the Protocol places a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities.”


An Agreement was made with 160 countries to place limitations on emissions of greenhouse gases.
Irelands target is to reduce its CO2 emissions to 13% above 1990 levels by the year 2012. Ireland has continuously failed to meet this target.