Short notes on the significance of Kyoto Protocol

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The Hague Climatic Conference held on November 15, 2000, collapsed, as there was no consensus on the issues it sought to resolve. The conference was convened to shape the modalities of a plan that would ensure that countries reach the quantified targets that they committed at Kyoto, Japan in 1997 to reduce consumption of Green house gases responsible for global warming.

The Kyoto protocol enjoins the industrialised countries to limit and reduce their emissions by 7 percent on an average relative to 1990 levels during 2008-12. It is noteworthy that developing countries have no such commitments. India and China are among the world’s top ten polluters but are free from any commitment. No wonder George Bush has objected to the Kyoto protocol.

The US oil and auto industry also had objected to the target arguing that meeting the target would make driving cars and eggs very expensive. Hence, US agreed to do this on the condition that it could buy ’emissions reductions’ from developing countries as well as industrialised countries and credit them as its own emission reduction effort.

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At the Hague Conference, the US insistence on credits for ‘carbon sinks’ led the talks into a deadlock. The US argued that “Carbon Sequestration” projects undertaken by developed countries should also qualify for credits as they contribute to the cooling of the earth.

Negotiations from EU countries opposed the US suggestion which. they perceived as an attempt by the US to prevent the curtailment of fossil fuel use. It was pointed out that US accounts for almost one fourth of all greenhouse gasses emissions. According to the Kyoto protocol, the US is to reduce emissions by 7 percent by 2010, compared to levels prevailing in 1990.

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