The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol

While the issues of global warming and the Kyoto Protocol are not exclusively Asia-Pacific topics, this essay will discuss the importance of Australia's role, along with the United States, in undermining this treaty. To a lesser degree, the roles of India and China will also be examined. Particular emphasis will also be placed on the economic, environmental and political aspects involved in the topic. Statistical data will also be offered to support this analysis.

The Framework Convention on Climate Change, instigated by the United Nations, was held in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997. More than 2,200 delegates from 161 nations took part in this summit to help forge an international treaty now known as the Kyoto Protocol. We can see from the map provided that the major stakeholders examined in this essay encompass the entire Asia-Pacific region.

The objective of the Kyoto climate-change conference was to establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby, all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GGE's). The target agreed upon at the summit was an average reduction of 5.20n 1990 levels by the year 2012. Table A, at the end of this essay, details the negotiated targets for each Annex 1 nation.

At the close of negotiations, Luxembourg's Environment Minister Johnny Lahure, was jubilant when he announced, ‘Today there are no losers and only one winner, the environment.' However, it is difficult to understand his enthusiasm.

In reality, it would take an immediate reduction of at least 60% to make an impact on the greenhouse gases that have been accumulating in the atmosphere since the onset of the industrial revolution. Given this, even if it is ratified, the Kyoto Protocol will achieve little for the environment.

Now, thanks entirely to the United States and Australia, ratification of the treaty may never...

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