What is Kyoto?

Ever since I read about Climate Change negotiations, there is one particular term which keeps attracting my attention on the internet- Kyoto Protocol.

So what is this Kyoto protocol and what is its significance in the climate change negotiations. In one line- Kyoto Protocol is the problem and perhaps also the solution.

Kyoto Protocol is a framework for United Nations Climate Change Conference proposed by Australia aimed at tackling global warming. The highlight of the protocol is that the developed countries take binding CO2 and hazardous gases emission cuts while the developing countries be let on themselves to decide the extent of emission cuts. Sounds fair.

But, Kyoto Protocol was introduced in 1997 and ratified in 2005. The arguement that goes against Kyoto is that the Kyoto Protocol doesn't reflect the current realities. At the time when Kyoto was introduced, countries like India, Brazil and South Africa were no where in the global economic picture. China was considered a developing country but had no real strength or say in world politics and policy making.

Come 1009, the situation is completely changed. The United States of America (which is the only country in world which never ratified neither have any intentions of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol) is no longer the only country that exclusively call shots in the working of UNO. Countries like China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, South Korea, Indonesia have see multiple growth in their economies. The global economic scenario have completely changed. The recent Financial Crisis have actually shifted the balance towards east or rather Asia. With Japan, China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia growing at a slow but sturdy pace while the economies in Europe and America shrinking, the final say in global issues no longer lies with the west.

All said, the Kyoto is an outdated frameworks agreement which was introduced at a time when the current major economies were evolving the needed the space to grow, which they did. But not its time to sit down and reassess the ground realities. The world is actually divided right now between those who wants Kyoto to be dropped (led by US and EU) while those who wants to continue with it (China and India). An interesting development last month was that the developing countries led by China agreed to drop Kyoto in lieu of adequate compensation citing the example that the developed countries already had their economic prosperity achieved by the exploitation of resources and would lose almost nothing even if they were to take binding emission cuts now, whereas the economies of developing countries will suffer a massive blow. EU declared a $200 Billion compensation package, but the developing countries weren't satisfied with that.

In the coming times, during COP15 and UNCCC, Kyoto will feature dominantly all over the media and blogging community. We must accept the world have changed and move on, but also must remember that we cannot continue our forward march on fellow human's corpses.