#ThrowbackThursday: The 1997 "Kyoto Protocol"

Today the second post in our new #ThrowbackThursday series on international efforts for climate action!

After the UNFCCC, the world’s first climate action framework was created in 1992, the ambitions needed to become binding targets. This happened in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. The “Kyoto Protocol” was the first agreement between nations that required every single one to reduce their emissions, which are defined by the six major greenhouse gases. The protocol was adopted as the first addition to the UNFCCC and went into effect in 2005.

Under it, industrialized nations pledged to cut their emissions significantly by 2012 compared to 1990 levels. However, China was considered a developing country and therefore not bound to the protocol and the United States refused to ratify it. Although, for example, the European Union, was on track to meeting the goals, other countries were failing to do so. Due to this, the long time until the protocol came into force and the incredible amounts of emissions that China and the USA alone are letting into the atmosphere, global emissions rose by almost 40% between 1990 and 2009.

At the 18th Conference of the Parties in Doha in 2011, delegates agreed to extend the protocol until 2020. This would then be a legally binding agreement, also holding, for example, the USA, China, and India responsible. This, however, never came to materialize. The next big step was the 2015 Paris Agreement, non-binding, but still largely celebrated. It will be next week’s #ThrowbackThursday!

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