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Copenhagen Summit - Kyoto Protocol

Copenhagen Summit - Kyoto Protocol

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Published by MSK. SahaaDhevan

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Published by: MSK. SahaaDhevan on Dec 16, 2009
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Copenhagen Summit – KyotoProtocol-
by Sushmita Dutta
The biggest threat that the world is facing today is globalwarming. Since the past century the temperature of earth has risen by almost 1 degree. The 21st centurymight see the earth’s temperature rise by almost 3degrees, which will result in major climatic changes likemelting of ice sheets or the rise in sea level. There is noexaggeration in the fact that global warming couldseriously endanger life.Global warming is mostly caused by the emission of greenhouse gases, which include carbon dioxide,methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, in largequantities. It depletes the ozone layer which protects theearth from the ultra-violet rays of the sun. It alsoincreases the heat in earth’s atmosphere. Rapid rise of industrialization and increase in automobiles areresponsible for the alarming emission of greenhouse. The
gas emitted from the burning of petrol all over the worldis damaging the earth’s atmosphere.People around the world are now realizing the dangersthat await them if they do not wake up to this imminentthreat. So, governments and world bodies are gearing upto finding ways to fight this menace.One such very important meet was held in the year of 1997, in the city of Kyoto in Japan. The United NationsFramework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)brought most of the countries under the Kyoto Protocolas a solid first step top combat the problem. The majorfeature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets bindingtargets for 37 industrialized countries and the Europeancommunity for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions. This protocol came into force on February16th, 2005.According to the Protocol, all the countries under theagreement will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by5.2% as compared to the year 1990. These gases includecarbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfurhexafluoride, HFCs, and PFCs. Targets of reduction rangefrom 8% for the European Union nations to 7% for USA,6% for Japan and permitted increase for Australia by 8%and 10% for Iceland.Till November 2009, 187 nations have signed theprotocol. But a major stumbling block to the KyotoProtocol is the United States of America, which isresponsible for 36% of the greenhouse gas emissions of the 1990 emission levels. Emission limits do not include
emissions by international aviation and shipping, but arein addition to the industrial gases, chlorofluorocarbons, orCFCs, which are dealt with under the 1987 MontrealProtocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
There are five principle concepts of the KyotoProtocol (as stated in the Protocol):
i) To reduce the emissions of the greenhouse gases by allcountries who have committed to the agreement.ii) To prepare policies and find out means to reducegreenhouse gases, and also to implement them.iii) To increase absorption of these hazardous gases( through geosequestration and biosequestration) anduse all possible means available such as jointimplementation, clean development mechanism andemission trading; also by rewarding nations doing betterin these areas.iv) To minimize the impact on the developing nations byestablishing an adaptation fund for climate change.v) Accounting, reporting and reviewing to ensure theintegrity of the Protocol so that people may not misusethe termsA market-based mechanism has been devised in theKyoto Protocol as means of achieving the targets for allthe participating countries. The mechanism includesEmissions trading – known as “the carbon market”, Cleandevelopment mechanism (CDM) and Jointimplementation (JI). These mechanisms help stimulategreen investment and help parties meet their emissiontargets in a cost-effective way.According to scientists, in over 800,000 years, the

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