Climate change is sticky subject in the United States. While all other developed countries have agreed that climate change is a real and legitimate treat to the future of human life and prosperity on the planet, the United States is still gripping with these realities and the underlying science. As a result, we have stayed out of a great deal of international legislation aimed at curbing the emission of green house gases. The Kyoto Protocol is one such international deal struck by member states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Lets take a moment to familiarize ourselves with this treaty, as well as examine the pros and cons associated with its continuing implementation.
The Kyoto Protocol was signed on December 11th, 1997 as a way for member states to address the growing amount of greenhouse gases being released into the earth’s atmosphere. A continuation of the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (otherwise known as UNFCC,) the Kyoto Protocol went into effect on 2005, with its first commitment period in 2008. As of now, there are 192 parties involved and it is still in force. As of this moment, the United States has signatories to the protocol that have not ratified.
The Pros of the Kyoto Protocol
1. Helps To Curb A Threat To The Future Of Mankind
In the next 100 years, scientists predict that the earth’s global average temperature will increase by 10 degrees. This estimation is based off of considerable research and examination of the effects 150 years of industrialization have had on the planet. With information collected from around the world and pointing towards the terrible problems that will result, the Kyoto Protocol was the continuation of a global initiative to decrease the greenhouse gases at the heart of the problem.
2. Pushes Towards Innovation
Due to the limitations put in place by the Kyoto Protocol, it is thought that other technologies, especially those that replace greenhouse gas emitting tasks, will have a boost in research and development. Because all research and development requires motivation, the Kyoto Protocol acts as the catalyst to bring about more sustainable technologies that help the planet.
3. Considering Our Children
Our children inherent the world we live in. As a result, many people, especially parents, see themselves as stewards of the land, trying their best to leave something worthwhile for the generations to come. With this argument, the Kyoto Protocol represents a promise from this generation to the next.
The Cons of the Kyoto Protocol
1. Needs More Participation
The problem with the Kyoto Protocol is that it requires nations sign on. While every country that agrees to participate helps the cause, some large countries responsible for the majority of emissions, including the United States, have not yet ratified the Kyoto Protocol. As a result, the countries that can do the most good are the ones not participating. It has been argued that without the participation of the United States, the Kyoto Protocol will not be successful. In addition, two of the fastest growing countries in the world, India and China, have no obligations at all regarding the Kyoto Protocol.
2. Implementation Needs To Be Better
Another big problem is that meeting the criteria of the Kyoto Protocol can be a challenge to figure out. Finding and gathering the information correctly can be a challenge for the country involved, and nearly impossible to prove completely correct. With the system in place as it stands, countries have to self report their numbers, leading to the potential for false information that only conforms to the standards set on paper. Until there is a system in place that takes this into consideration and finds a successful way to report and measure greenhouse gas emissions, the Kyoto Protocol will be subject to error.
3. Advancement of Alternative Technologies Is Not yet There
One of the troubles associated with adhering to the Kyoto Protocol is the cost of alternative energy compared to greenhouse emitting technology. Alternative energy is much less advanced and significantly more expensive then the alternative, making it a challenge for larger companies to role out the technology on a large scale.
4. Pointless For Those Who Deny Global Warming
If you are in the group of Global Warming skeptics, then the Kyoto Protocol and its mission is completely pointless.
Where Does That Leave Us?
As the majority of scientists around the world agree, global warming is a real and present danger that will get worse with time. While the Kyoto Protocol represents an amazing international effort to begin addressing the greenhouse gasses at the center of the crisis, there are a number of issues regarding participation and alternative energy production that still continue to be a thorn in the side of the success of the Kyoto Protocol.