The Kyoto Protocol is an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty intended to bring countries together to reduce global warming and to cope with the effects of temperature increases that are unavoidable after 150 years of industrialization. The provisions of the Kyoto Protocol are legally binding
Countries that ratify the Kyoto Protocol agree to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs and PFCs. The countries are allowed to use emissions trading to meet their obligations if they maintain or increase their greenhouse gas emissions.
Emissions trading allows nations that can easily meet their targets to sell credits to those that cannot.
Lowering Emissions Worldwide
The goal of the Kyoto Protocol is to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. Compared to the emissions levels that would occur by 2010 without the Kyoto Protocol, however, this target actually represents a 29 percent cut.
The Kyoto Protocol sets specific emissions reduction targets for each industrialized nation, but excludes developing countries. To meet their targets, most ratifying nations would have to combine several strategies:place restrictions on their biggest pollutersmanage transportation to slow or reduce emissions from automobiles