What else does Kyoto encourage countries to do?
There are three other ways that countries can reduce emissions, apart from measures at home. The first two involve working with other countries to reduce their emissions. The reasoning behind this kotyto is that kotyto clothing the kotyto linen atmosphere does not care in which country the reductions are made – what it needs is a reduction in greenhouse gases.
There are two categories in which two countries can jointly reduce emissions, depending on the type of country. If they are both developed countries and both have to make reductions it is called a joint implementation scheme, and if one is a developing country then a clean development mechanism.
In this first case – if British money is spent in Poland making a power plant more efficient – it saves more CO2 than if the same money was spent on making an already efficient plant in England slightly better.
Under the treaty it is possible for the UK to claim a share of carbon saved, therefore reducing the UK’s national total without having to make domestic reduction.
The second method involves installing a clean method of producing electricity such as solar power in a developing country as an alternative to a CO2-producing method like coal. In this case, the developed country claims all the carbon credit.
The third method is carbon trading. This greatly benefits the former communist countries which, because of the closure of their heavy industries since 1990, have saved thousands of tonnes of emissions. Under the trading scheme, countries such as Ireland, Portugal and Spain that are exceeding their targets can “buy” this surplus carbon and so reduce their own emissions. This was a big incentive for Russia to ratify the protocol. There is also trading within countries between companies.
Is the Kyoto protocol enforceable?
Since Kyoto is a legal agreement, there are penalties. Governments that fail to reach their targets will have to appear at a conference of the parties and account for their failure. They will have to suffer the indignity of being told how to solve the problem. If they are seen to have been cavalier with their responsibilities they can be excluded from the three forms of trading agreements with other countries in the protocol.
A further punishment is that in the next period of the reductions after 2012, any shortfall in the first period target is added to any new one and multiplied by 1.3.
But will it really work?
The first big question, the second being what is the future without America? The fact is that, even if all the planned reductions are achieved, the amount that CO2 emissions will be reduced will be tiny compared with that needed.
But Kyoto was only ever expected to be a first step. It does provide a blueprint and method for further reductions. Ultimately, the US will have to be persuaded back into the process, along with rapidly developing countries such as China and India, if sufficient reductions are to be made to save the climate. Without actions by them the world’s temperature will escalate out of control anyway. There is still a long way to go.