The kyoto protocol essay

The Earth is meant to sustain a population of approximately two million people, but recently the population has increased to almost seven million people. With this rise, a number of problems have presented themselves. The main one causing all the controversy is global warming. The Earth steadily gets warmer, but many people feel humans are not to blame because it happens naturally.

Kyoto Protocol Essay

Scientists try…. Considering the threatening scale of the problem and the wide geographical distribution of GHG emissions, the Protocol required international….

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Canada joined created several acts of legislation to protect the environment, as well as ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. With the election of the Conservative, Stephen Harper government, funding for environmental research has been cut, and Canada has eliminated its hopes of achieving its Kyoto Protocol goals. The Canadian government has created several environmental protection acts, to protect the environment. The three main acts of environmental…. Bilal Bourouf Assignment 2 Geog My essay on Kyoto protocol Introduction: Greenhouse gases are primarily made of water vapor and other elements such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide [1].

The Wrong Solution at the Right Time: The Failure of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change

This gas is emitted mostly by energy plants, transportation vehicles and deforestation. In a huge amount, it acts like a thermal blanket for the Earth conserving the heat which leads to important environmental problems such as global warming [2].

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These gases are generated by all nations…. Inappropriate and Outdated Applications of the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities Doctrine as a Hindrance to Climate Change Policy Climate change looms large over our rapidly growing and continually changing world. No longer are the adverse effects of this menacing global phenomenon mere ominous projections, they are starting to become a very concrete reality.

What is the Kyoto protocol and has it made any difference? | Environment | The Guardian

Countries are today experiencing rising sea levels, which compromises coastal infrastructure, prolonged drought, squeezing food supply…. Canada was correct in withdrawing from its commitment to reducing emissions under the Kyoto Protocol because it should not have initially ratified the agreement. The responsibility for creating change within Canada has been passed from one government to the next, leading to successive governments failing to even attempt to meet Kyoto targets. But the impact of this key climate institution cannot be confined simply to that of practice and theory. Climate change is an issue that has serious ethical implications if not properly addressed.

As Wapner notes, the failure of climate mitigation efforts will not simply result in a shift to policies focused on adaptation; instead, we should accept that climate suffering is a real possibility. But climate change poses particular threats to such groups Boyce and Pastor ; Jamieson ; Paterson Many of the countries most likely to suffer the effects of climate change are small emitters, and thus have little control over either negotiations or outcomes that will disproportionately affect them Shue There are also issues of intergenerational justice at stake, as future generations are the ones that will suffer the consequences of decisions made here and now Barry ; Weiss This discussion leaves us with the understanding that the climate change issue may be a good candidate for an international regime, but the design of that regime is crucial, both in terms of how it engenders cooperation among states as well as its ultimate impact on the world.

From both a policy and a scholarly perspective, then, an international institution was a promising forum for addressing a global problem like climate change.

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  • The Kyoto Protocol Essay.
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The adoption of the Kyoto Protocol was hardly lauded as a panacea to the global climate problem, either at its inception or later Boyd At the same time, as the principal international instrument intended to reverse GHG emission trends, it merits particular scrutiny. In this section, I assess how and in what ways we can consider Kyoto to have failed.

I turn to why it failed immediately after. The following analysis draws on existing approaches to assessing public policies as well as regime effectiveness. The typical approach to evaluating policy success or failure is to focus on considerations of effectiveness, efficiency, and performance Wallner Effectiveness and efficiency have long been hallmarks of climate policy analysis: Klein, Schipper, and Dessai use these considerations in their discussion of how to build synergies between adaptation and mitigation policy, while den Elzen and de Moor take this approach in evaluating the ramifications of the Marrakesh Accords.

Those working on evaluating regimes focus more readily on assessing regime compliance and effectiveness Mitchell ; Mitchell and Chayes To keep in line with these established approaches, the analysis follows Blum and will look at how Kyoto can be judged in terms of its compliance, efficiency, and effectiveness. Compliance—or the extent to which states alter their behavior consistently with the provisions of an institution, is a key consideration in evaluating a regime Mitchell ; Vezirgiannidou ; Young Similarly, performance approaches to policy analysis look at how a policy that had several advantages in terms of timing, windows, and supportive policy entrepreneurs' failures due to poor performance by the actors tasked with implementation Wallner The first task in evaluating Kyoto's performance, therefore, is to assess the extent to which states complied with both the letter and spirit of the institution.

So, how did Kyoto fare in terms of compliance? The record is mixed, but overall paints an image of failure. Experts have pointed out that even full participation and compliance with Kyoto would not have prevented widespread climate change den Elzen and Meinshausen ; Wigley Kyoto required an average GHG emission reduction of 5. Emissions in developing countries would need to deviate below their current path by , and emissions in all countries would need to deviate substantially below their current path by These requirements stand in stark contrast to the 8 percent or less reduction that industrialized countries were asked to make.

Despite this low bar, the compliance record is spotty. Canadian carbon dioxide emissions increased by 25 percent from to and Japan's emissions increased by 14 percent over the same period Olivier et al. Therefore, only eight of the 15 countries were reported to have met their individual targets—Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The remaining seven—Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Spain were not on track to meet their requirements, according to data European Commission Their compliance rested not on their own actions but those of their EU partners.

Further consideration should be given to whether those actors within the regime performed better than those outside it. Strikingly, the country that has been the most reluctant to go along with Kyoto—the United States—boasts perhaps in spite of itself widespread and innovative action on climate change at the subnational level Rabe Although the United States as a whole has not produced substantial emission reductions— estimates put it at 8. California, one of the more active states on climate change, kept emission levels to a less than 1 percent increase over levels through , approximately 8 percent less than the nation as a whole over the same period, despite a population growth of 9 percent since CALEPA ; Choate et al.

A report noted, for example, that California was on track to meet its commitment to reduce emissions to levels by Greenblatt Indeed, the activity at the subnational level across the country has been widespread and innovative Rabe , Several of these programs preceded Kyoto; the others were created despite U. Similar situations exist within Canada and Australia, states that at different times also resisted the Kyoto Protocol. Federal systems have a great deal of room for localized policy making, but given the small impact any single state or city can have on global emissions, this activity is still surprising.

This is even more the case when the widespread nature of these activities are taken into account—policy makers have passed climate policies in times of economic hardship, in states that are more traditionally conservative, and in spite of high percentages of the population disbelieving in the very existence of climate changes and the role of humans in causing it Rosen Yet these nonmember states boast some highly innovative practices, despite nonparticipation in Kyoto, many of which could lead to significant reductions in the long term Rabe In summary, even though Kyoto set a relatively low threshold for emission reductions, states still struggled to comply.

Some, such as Canada, left the regime entirely. Others, like Japan, remained in the regime, but failed to meet their obligations, and have chosen not to participate in the second commitment period. Meanwhile, at least one significant nonadopter has seen nascent efforts at emission reductions occur in spite of its nonparticipation in the institution.

What this tells us is that compliance with Kyoto is not sufficient to produce emission reductions—but it is also not necessary. Efficiency has long been a concern in both policy analysis and environmental governance. Shepsle notes that efficient policies are ones where negative externalities and suboptimal outcomes are limited.

In terms of regime assessment, Roch and Perrez and Vatn specifically consider the role of efficiency in international environmental governance. Following Blum , an efficient climate regime would be one where cooperation is sought through a single or small number of institutions as opposed to one that is fragmented into a large number of forums. Given the amount of time and energy that went into creating and implementing the Kyoto Protocol and the resources demanded by the annual Conferences of the Parties, it seems fair to question whether or not the institution is efficient in accomplishing its goals.

The short answer is no. New forums and agreements are continually created, most recently the U. In addition, treaties on other issue areas, such as the Montreal Protocol, also play a role in GHG management, while at the local level, transnational coordination and cooperation on climate issues has been on the rise Betsill and Bulkeley Scholars point to how forum shifting Braithwaite and Drahos and issue linkages Alter and Meunier play a role in creating such fragmentation, and the Kyoto regime itself condoned it in , when the Durban Platform moved attention toward creating a new regime even as negotiations continued over a second commitment period under Kyoto.

And some even argue that some of these alternative forums—notably the Montreal Protocol—have had more of an impact on climate change than Kyoto itself Jinnah and Conliffe ; Velders et al. While some argue that this fragmentation is not necessarily a bad thing notably, Keohane and Victor , it does represent a flaw in the intention of Kyoto, which was not intended at its creation to be a single institution in an eventual regime complex.

As the amount of time, energy, and resources poured into the ongoing negotiations over Kyoto has not decreased over time, this inefficiency poses costs—both real and opportunity—to global efforts at reducing climate change. In this sense too, therefore, Kyoto has failed. Of the three considerations for assessing policy and regimes, effectiveness—whether or not the policy or regime worked as intended—has received perhaps the most attention by scholars Bernauer ; Sprinz and Helm ; Young ; Weiss and Jacobson In that vein, our concern should be on whether or not the Kyoto regime solved the problem that concerned its creators: the high rates of GHG emissions into the atmosphere and the resulting likelihood of severe climate change.

Here too, the story is not one to engender hope. Globally, emissions did not decline or stay stagnant compared to the baseline year; instead, they dramatically increased. In , the global output of carbon dioxide was That represents an increase of 59 percent between and , and an increase of approximately 14 percent over the course of the first Kyoto commitment period. In general, the average annual increase of carbon dioxide emissions between and was 2.

Granted, much of the increase is due to emissions from countries not bound by the Kyoto Protocol, notably China and the United States, who together are responsible for approximately 40 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. But this simply raises more questions concerning why policy makers chose to focus their attention for 15 years on an accord with little impact on the key actors.

Among the industrialized Annex B countries that were actually bound by Kyoto, the story is brighter. This would seem to indicate clear success of the treaty. But we should be cautious. Achieving the goals of a treaty does not automatically translate to solving the problem itself Young This idea is illustrated by an examination of how some of the successful states managed to meet their commitments.

Some states adopted questionable policies that met the technical requirements of Kyoto but ultimately did little for or even damaged the underlying effort to mitigate climate change concerns. In other words, they strived to achieve the letter of Kyoto but not its spirit. Since Kyoto uses as the benchmark year for reductions, those states that experienced a decrease in energy consumption and loss of polluting industries following the collapse of communism were more easily able to comply, as their emissions were far below what they were in The EU benefited from this, as the addition of several Eastern European states into the Union resulted in a windfall in overall emission cuts.

More generally, Kyoto incentivized measures that produce identifiable emission reductions in the short term rather than encouraging the pursuit of more fundamental policy changes and investments that could have produced greater reductions in the long run Keeler and Thompson Some states, for example, met their targets by switching from oil and coal to natural gas as an energy source—itself a GHG, although a less aggressive pollutant than traditional fossil fuels.

This reduced emission rates in the near term, but still resulted in the emitting of GHGs, and thus will continue to pose challenges in the long term. Therefore, in terms of the three main determinants of policy and regime success—compliance, efficiency, and effectiveness—the record shows that Kyoto can clearly be labeled a failure. So why did Kyoto fail to make significant strides in solving its global problem? I argue that certain features of the design of the institution contributed extensively to its failure.

Certainly other factors—such as strategic interests in negotiating and the complex nature of the climate problem—offer rationales for why Kyoto has failed Keohane and Victor In this section, I explore why design failure deserves an equal share of responsibility for these failures.

The ultimate climate change FAQ

Although the data are not exactly global and not always of the best quality, certain conclusions can be reached. The Earth's climate has never been steady; it has either warmed or cooled—without any human intervention. The measured variations have often been large and rapid—larger and more rapid than those predicted by climate models for the year In the last 3, years i.