The Kyoto Protocol was set up in a session of the United Nations in Japan in the year 1997. This initiative was set forth to reduce harmful emissions and to lessen global warming. It was adopted and contains goals for emissions that are legally binding for the countries involved.
The aim of the Kyoto Protocol is to prevent countries from causing global warming through human activity. There are some natural forces that contribute to global warming. However, it is the disruption of the climate by humans that is most damaging. This is what is addressed in the Kyoto Protocol.
The developed countries of the world have made commitments to reducing emissions in a timely manner. They have target dates and set levels they are supposed to reach by those times. There are six greenhouse gases that are meant to be reduced by 5% in the next few years. Three of these are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. If these countries are successful, it will reduce global warming.
It is interesting that, while many countries have agreed to reduce emissions, some countries will be allowed to raise emissions. These countries are Norway, Australia, and Iceland. These countries control global warming by keeping their increases to a certain level.
Other countries are asked to simply maintain the levels of emissions they already have. Countries such as Russia, Ukraine, and New Zealand do their part against global warming by maintaining the status quo.
The goals of the Kyoto Protocol to decrease global warming are supposed to be realized between the years 2008-2012. It seems that this will be a near impossibility at this point for many countries. The US especially is turning its back on the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. The initiative is given lip service by the powers that be, but real progress has been slow coming.
One way developed countries can receive credit under the Kyoto protocol is to help others. If developed countries sponsor emissions reducing programs in developing countries, they receive credit for this. It shows their commitment to the reduction of global warming.
Yet, not all developed countries have adopted the Kyoto Protocol. One glaring example is the US. As of December 2006, the US was one of the 169 governments that had signed the agreement to cut down on global warming. However, it did not ratify the agreement, so the treaty has no power in the US. Another hold-out was Australia.
There were two conditions that needed to be met to put this treaty into full legal force. One was that 55 countries needed to sign up. That condition was met in 2002. In 2005, the other condition was met when 55% of the developed countries had joined the effort to stop global warming.
The Kyoto Protocol was designed to hold developed countries up to a high standard. Developed countries are not only expected to create ways to reduce global warming. They are also rewarded if they help other countries to do the same. When every developed country joins in the struggle to reduce global warming, the earth will reap the benefits.