Kyoto’s Protocol

While we where doing our study case about «Droughts in Australia », I founded some information that said that Australia along with the United States refuses to sign Kyoto’s Protocol, and it fills me with a big curiosity of “why?”.
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Countries that ratify this protocol commit to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases, or engage in emissions trading if they maintain or increase emissions of these gases.

The objective is the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”


Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal. Burning coal produces more carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas restricted under the protocol, than any other major fuel. Prime minister, John Howard argued: “Signing the protocol would cause a flight of jobs from this country and damage in our industry.”” due to countries with booming economies and massive populations such as China and India not having any reduction obligations. Also, the Government takes the view that Australia is already doing enough to cut emissions they recently compromised $300 million over the next three years to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States is the 2005 largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. The current President, George W. Bush, has indicated that he does not intend to submit the treatment for ratification, not because he does not support the Kyoto principles, but because of the exemption granted to China, the world’s second largest emitter of carbon dioxide. Bush also opposes the treatment because he believes it would put the US economy in risk.

Knowing more information about this countries, made me understand their positions. And before today, my impression was that they were wrong.
800px-Kyoto_Protocol_participation_map_2005.png
Source: http://environment.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/dn2369
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyoto_Protocol

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Posted in climate change, government policy
3 comments on “Kyoto’s Protocol
  1. jeremy says:

    There will not be too many people who will have sympathy for the position of the US and Australia. In my opinion, the developed world countries have to show some leadership in reducing GHG emissions. China and India are unlikely to feel any pressure to change if rich countries like the US and Australia do not change.

  2. adrian says:

    According to the Department of the Environment and Heritage, Australian Greenhouse Office (http://www.greenhouse.gov.au/international/kyoto/), Australia did not sign the Kyoto Protocol since “it does not provide a comprehensive or environmentally effective long-term response to climate change”. Additionally, the Australian Government committed to its own programme of emission reduction and is going to meet its targets.

  3. Susanne says:

    I have found a chart concerning the development of CO2 emissions per country from 1990 to 2004. Surprisingly, in 19 out of 40 countries CO2 emissions have increased from 1990 to 2004. It is even more interesting that the USA (16% increase) is NOT one of the countries with the highest increase in CO2 emissions. In fact, Spain and Portugal which have ratified the Kyoto Protocol are in the top 3 with an increase of 41% (Portugal) and 49% (Spain). Furthermore, Canada, one of the first countries that signed the Kyoto Protocol, is on the 4th position with a 27% increase.
    If you want to have a look: http://unfccc.int/files/inc/graphics/image/gif/graph1_2006.gif

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