If a country has participated in the Kyoto Protocol, it is expected that data will show a decrease in CO2 levels. Conversely, if a country has not ratified, nor participated will show an increase in CO2 levels.
The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The protocol entered into force in 2005, with the aim to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, which are responsible for causing climate change. The focus was mostly, or even completely at some point on developed and industrialized countries, as they assumed, they were the main emitters.
This allowed developing countries such as China and India that were economically growing due to an increase in industry production to pollute massively and leading them to be the largest contributors in the world of CO2. It is important to acknowledge how the Kyoto Protocol was going to achieve its targets. Hence, it must be considered the three mechanisms of the protocol as they were meant to stimulate an ecofriendly investment, sustainable development and help parties to accomplish the reduction of emission.
( “What Is the Kyoto Protocol?”)
1. Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Its purpose was to improve green technology, for example, implementing solar panels in rural areas.
2. International Emission Trading, also known as the carbon market. The purpose was to decrease air pollution levels, as if a country desired to pollute more, it would be needed to buy permits from another country that was willing to sell them. Hence, it will lead to a balance of emissions.
3. Joint Implementation II. The aim was for countries to collaborate with each other in the reduction of greenhouse gases. For example, a developed country could invest a project in a developing country (does not pollute as much) as a solution to reduce emissions domestically and reduce costs of emissions while in the progress of achieving Kyoto targets.
The investigation focuses on the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide while comparing among the countries that have polluted the most in the last 17 years, whether they are developed or developing countries. It is important to also include developing countries, as they were not included in the agreement (at the beginning of the execution of Protocol). Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Kyoto Protocol underestimated the capacity of CO2 emission in developing countries. This will demonstrate the effectiveness of the treaty in reducing CO2 levels, even though they exclude significant countries, that today has the highest emissions in the world.
It is important to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of this agreement as a change in CO2 levels can impact enormously our lives on Earth. CO2 levels have led to global warming. In 2017, global temperature rose 1.62 °C according to NASA. It has led as well to climate change, relevant to consider as it disrupts the balance of the ecosystem and all the life on earth, including us, humans. Thus, measuring the effectiveness is extremely significant as it can improve or not life on Earth. If it has been effective, then it can be reinforced in countries that have not participated. However, if it has not been effective, government leaders along with IGOS, in this case UNFCCC must collaborate and implement more rigorous regulations that will lead to the reduction of CO2.
The time range for this lab was 2000-2017, thus it allows to investigate the relationship between CO2 levels before and after the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. As well as see the relationship of the country’s status (developed- developing countries) and finally calculate average percentage level.
The results of the investigation illustrate that if the Kyoto Protocol was effective, then concentration levels of CO2 will decrease, supporting the hypothesis. However, in order to understand the relevance of the data it must be considered what impacts does data imply upon environmental issues of air pollution and most importantly, how is society affected by it. Table 2 shows that only 5 countries have decreased their percentage of CO emission, although there is an outlier present amongst them, the USA and Japan. This is worthy of mentioning as it contradicts the hypothesis, because they are not included (not ratified) in the protocol and additionally levels CO2 decrease. Under the protocol, only developed countries committed themselves to target for slowing down their emissions of the main greenhouse gas. In this investigation the focus was only CO2, thus the weakness is that the effectiveness of the protocol is only being looked at one component, rather than seeing at other gases, which would have allowed the investigation to establish a more solid and valid conclusion.
The limitations of the Kyoto Protocol that led to be ineffective is that its implementation can be discouraged due to a lack of law enforcement within a country, moreover countries have the right to not ratify the protocol. Additionally, some countries could increase their emissions by a certain amount, in this case this is about developing countries while developed countries were required to cut around 5% in 1990 by 2012. The lab could have focused on previous year to see if there has been a decrease or increase in CO2 levels from 1990 ever since. Even though the protocol is not considered as a major success, it can still serve as a model for other countries to improve the limitations that this protocol had and eventually meet the targets to combat climate change overall. However, the question is if there are or will be more ambitious protocols and treaties that are able to foresee the risks of not including all countries in the fight against climate change. Climate change affects all of us, hence countries must be united and act together.