Overview of The Kyoto Protocol


The Kyoto Protocol represents a commitment by developed countries to reducing global atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

  • The Kyoto Protocol was adopted by consensus at the Third Conference of the Parties (COP3) in December 1997.
  • Those countries that adopted the Kyoto Protocol are grouped as Annex A (developing) and Annex B (developed) countries. Annex B countries all agreed to targets for GHG emissions in the first commitment period, 2008 to 2012. These targets represent an average reduction of GHG emissions, over all Annex B countries, to 95% of 1990 emission levels with individual country commitments ranging from -8% for the European Union to +10% for Iceland. 
  • In 1997 the intent was for Annex A countries to take on GHG emission commitments in the second and subsequent commitment periods.
  • Each Annex B country will be committed to meet the target agreed in 1997, when the following conditions are met:
    • The country has ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
    • 55 Annex B countries have ratified the Kyoto Protocol.
    • Annex B countries to ratify the Kyoto Protocol represent 55% of the 1990 Annex B emissions.
  • The Protocol covers six gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
  • The Protocol commits parties to demonstrate progress towards the targets by 2005.
  • Further Conferences of the Parties (COP 4 - 10) have worked on agreeing the detail of the Kyoto Protocol. COP7 in November 2001 completed the substantive work to enable ratification to proceed.
  • The Kyoto Protocol came into force during 2005, when the Russian Federation ratified.  

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