What is the Kyoto Protocol and Who Does it Apply To?

The Kyoto Protocol was agreed in 1997 in an attempt to curb greenhouse emissions. However, it doesn’t apply to all countries and has been widely criticised.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement which became a legally binding treaty in 2005. It sets specific targets for industrialised nations to reduce carbon emissions by 2012 in an attempt to curb the effects of anthropogenic global warming.

It has been criticised for being both toothless and economically damaging; among the nations not to ratify it was Australia and the U.S (though Australia later backtracked in 2007), while China and India were exempt on account of being considered developing nations at the time the treaty was agreed. However, the Kyoto Protocol’s proponents argue that it is mankind’s best chance at avoiding the worst effects of climate change as a result of human activity.

What is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol was born out of the earlier treaty agreed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC was the first attempt by industrialised nations to monitor greenhouse emissions and curb carbon pollution. The ultimate goal was to find a way of stabilising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases at a safe level that would mitigate against the worst effects of global warming.

The UNFCCC encouraged nations to reduce emissions but it was not legally binding; the Kyoto Protocol was the first treaty where formal targets were outlined. Industrialised nations were encouraged but not required to ratify the document; emissions caps applied only to those nations who did so. The overall target amounted to a reduction in carbon emissions of around 5% on 1990 levels taken as a four year average between 2008 and 2012.

Which Countries Signed the Kyoto Protocol?

As of November 2009, 191 states had ratified or otherwise approved the Kyoto Protocol, accounting for 63.7% of Annex I country emissions. Annexe I countries are a group defined by the UNFCCC, including all OECD countries and ‘economies in transition’. A full list of ratifying countries is published on the UNFCCC website.

In order for the Kyoto Protocol to become a legally binding document 55% of Annex I emissions needed to be accounted for by countries ratifying the treaty – a statistic which was achieved on 16th February 2005. As of 2010, the majority of outstanding emissions not covered by the Kyoto Protocol come from the United States, who between 1990 and 2005 accounted for 30% of global cumulative carbon emissions.

Criticism of the Kyoto Protocol

Various criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol have been made, ranging from accusations of inefficiency and inequality to suggestions that it is simply ineffective. One of the treaty’s highest-profile critics is James Hansen, who in 2009 boycotted the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, labelling it a farce and claiming that the developed world nations were paying lip service to real environmental concerns and simply wanted to continue with ‘business as usual’.

Another major criticism was that caps were only applied to developed nations and that ‘developing’ countries, such as China, India and Brazil, were not included despite the fact that they represent a rapidly growing percentage of global carbon emissions – indeed, China is now the third highest producer of global greenhouse gases (8%) after the US (30%) and the EU (23%).

The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty designed to curb greenhouse emissions among OECD countries and bring them down to 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. As of November 2009, it has been signed by 191 states and the US is the only major nation-state that has yet to ratify the agreement. It has been roundly criticised on a number of levels yet to date it remains the most important international agreement in the fight against anthropogenic global warming.

25,000 People Walk for Climate in Ottawa

Climate March Ottawa 2015

Applause was heard in our headquarters and in the crowd when we heard about the number of people enumerated in our march: 25,000 people * took to the streets of Ottawa today to spread our message for the climate! 

Some people have said that our march would not work, that people in Ottawa would not walk, that people in Montreal would not move, that Toronto was too far away and that climate issues would not be of interest to families and communities. workers.

Today, 25,000 people have proven that they are wrong: climate change is the moral issue of our century and the solutions to this crisis are becoming more evident and gaining popularity every day.

We know we can not do anything and watch climate change put our world at risk.

Corroborating the latest Nanos poll launched last week that said 73% of Canadians believe climate change is a threat to their economic future, the crowd was loud, flashy and loud to get their message across:

A 100% renewable economy by 2050 is 100% possible!

Scientists have said: we must do it. Some politicians have said: we CAN do it.

On the eve of the Climate Change Conference in Paris, Canadians joined the voices of citizens in more than 200 cities around the world calling for concrete actions to fight climate change.

There are moments when history is built, moments when the popularity of a message makes it so inevitable that even the most intransigent politicians are swept away by the wave.

Ottawa Climate March November 29, 2015

Today  could be one of those moments .

* About the crowd: Gilles Lamothe, professor of statistics at the University of Ottawa shared his methodology: He used the Jacob method to estimate the number of people on Parliament Hill. From a photo of the crowd, he estimated the area occupied by the crowd at 7,550 square meters and the density of the crowd at three people per square meter. With the march of error, he estimated that the number of people present was between 20 385 to 24 915, excluding the few thousand people left before the end of the march.

25,000 Beautiful People!

25,000 Beautiful People

A huge whoop just went up around the office and the crowd as the official crowd count came in.  25,000 people took to the streets in sub zero temperatures to join our positive call for climate solutions!

They said it couldn’t be done, that people in Ottawa wouldn’t march, that people in Montreal (who do march) wouldn’t make the trip, that Toronto was too far, that “environmental” issues wouldn’t attract workers, christians, students, families, and government workers.

Today 25,000 of us proved them wrong: climate change is the biggest moral issue of our times and the movement to solve it continues to grow each and every month. We know we can’t sit on the sidelines and let the climate crisis continue to unfold around us without doing something about it.

The movement’s strength in Canada is also supported by Friday’s poll released by Nanos research, which found 73 per cent of Canadians agree that “climate change presents a significant threat to our economic future”. The crowd today looked like a cross section of Canada.

Indigenous elders and frontline communities, small children grinning from strollers, teenagers chanting their hearts out, raging grannies, First Nations grandmothers and children, and so many others of all ages in colourful shades of green. Signs were equally split between French and English.

One last thing on the crowd count. Gilles Lamothe, statistician professor at the University of Ottawa, shared his methodology. He used Jacob’s method to estimate the number of people at the Hill. From a photograph, he estimated the surface area that was occupied by the crowd at about 7,550 square meters and also the density of the crowd at about 3 persons per square meter. With the margin of error, he estimated the number of people at the hill to be between 20,385 to 24,915, with a few thousand that left before the marched reached the Hill, 90 mins after the start.

25,000 Beautiful People March for Climate