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Kyoto protocol (Essay Sample)

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pros and cons of Kyoto protocol

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Pros and cons of the Kyoto protocol
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Pros and cons of the Kyoto protocol
Introduction
The Kyoto Protocol is a negotiated agreement that compels industrialized nations to reduce their greenhouse emissions by 5.2 percent by the year 2012 (Shogren, 1999). This agreement was reached in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. The objective of the agreement is to reduce the emissions of the six main greenhouse gases, namely: carbon dioxide, methane, PFCs, sulfur hexafluoride and HFCs. By 2011, several countries and regions had achieved or exceeded their Kyoto objectives, but countries such as China and the United States, who are the two leading emitters, continue to emit more gases that erase the gains made by other nations.
Pros and cons
The first advantage of the Kyoto Protocol is broad participation. By the year 2010, a large number of countries had signed the agreement, mainly countries within the European Union and most Asian nations. This makes the problem of global warming a global issue, not a regional one. This compels all nations, whether signatory or not, to take the potential impacts of global warming seriously.
Another advantage of the protocol is that it is a legally binding agreement. Compared with other international agreements, the Kyoto Protocol compels nations who have ratified it to meet set objectives of lowering greenhouse emissions (Baumann, 2010). Failure to meet the objectives gives the United Nations the mandate to set more demanding goals for that country, and bans it from engaging in carbon trading in the future.
The ambitious objectives set by the protocol in another key advantage. The main aim of the protocol is to lower emissions to levels equivalent to those of pre-1990. Unlike targets set within the U.S, the proposals in the agreement are bold and have a short time frame, which ensures that they are met by 2012 (Baumann, 2010).
The Kyoto Protocol has its disadvantages too. The first one is that it lacks the mechanism to force nations to ratify the agreement in case they fail to do so. The United States, which is the leading emitter of carbon dioxide, has failed to ratify the agreement and officially announced that it will not ratify it in the future. China is also another country, which has failed to ratify the agreement (Shogren, 1999). Such moves by these nations negate the gains made by other countries, especially those from the European Union.
Failure by the agreement to consider economic factors, especially global inequalities, is also another key disadvantage. By setting its objectives to the pre-1990 levels, the protocol tends to favor European nations at the expense of developing countries. This is because by the year 1990, all European countries were industrialized. Emerging economies such as Brazil and China have realized industrial development after 1990, and will have to stop such developments in order to meet the demands of the protocol.
The Kyoto protocol should be followed by all nations because it i...
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