Convention of Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol


Legislation: International

Negotiated: Kyoto, Japan

Why was the law needed?

This law was needed to control global warming that is linked to the emissions of greenhouse gases.

What does this law do?

This law sets limits on emissions of greenhouse gases from industrialized countries. The developed countries were primarily responsible for high levels of GHG or in simpler terms a gas such as carbon dioxide.

The goal of this law is to lower the overall emissions from six greenhouse gases:

  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Methane
  • Nitrous Oxide
  • Sulfur Hecafluoride
  • HFCs
  • PFCs

This Protocol was developed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the UNFCCC

external image carbon-emission-chart.pnggraph by Robert A. Rohde

169 countries have ratified on the agreement, only 2 refused to ratify, Australia and the United States. But Australia decided to ratify in 2007. But the U.S. still has not ratified, the excuse: it would be bad for the economy of the U.S. and that the U.S. chose national needs over international affairs. Also, Bush decided since the law excluded China and India as developing countries, even though they are main producers of greenhouse gases, he felt as though it was unfair.

Financial Problems with the Kyoto Protocol:
  • The gap could be larger if the economy grows faster or if more gases than expected per unit Gross Domestic Product or GDP are produced
  • Proposed measures used to reduce GHG might not work as well as expected
  • The international price of carbon permits could be greater than expected

What group is responsible for regulation and enforcement?
There are no direct punishments or sanctions for this law, it is up to the individual country, state, or province to enforce punishment.


The impact of the Kyoto Protocol can only be considered a first step towards the reduction in world wide emissions growth.

Websites used: