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There are key differences between the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, two significant international agreements aimed at combating climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Kyoto Protocol, adopted in 1997, was the first international treaty to set binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It required developed countries to reduce their emissions by an average of 5.2% below 1990 levels during the period from 2008 to 2012. However, the Kyoto Protocol only applied to developed countries, excluding major emitters like the United States and China.
In contrast, the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, is a more comprehensive and inclusive agreement. It aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement includes commitments from both developed and developing countries, recognizing the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of countries.
Another key difference between the two agreements is the approach to emissions reduction targets. The Kyoto Protocol used a top-down approach, with specific targets assigned to each country based on their historical emissions. Countries could choose to meet their targets through domestic measures or by participating in international emissions trading. On the other hand, the Paris Agreement takes a bottom-up approach, allowing each country to set its own nationally determined contributions (NDCs) towards achieving the overall goal of reducing global emissions. The NDCs are submitted by each country and are meant to represent the best efforts of that country to reduce its emissions.
Additionally, the Kyoto Protocol had a legally binding compliance mechanism, which allowed for consequences if countries failed to meet their emissions reduction targets. In contrast, the Paris Agreement is based on voluntary commitments and does not have legally binding emissions reduction targets. Instead, it relies on a transparency framework to track countries’ progress in implementing and achieving their NDCs.
Furthermore, the Paris Agreement emphasizes the importance of providing support to developing countries in their efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It establishes a global goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020 to support developing countries in their climate actions. The Kyoto Protocol, on the other hand, did not have such a specific financial goal.
In conclusion, while both the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement aim to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there are key differences in their scope, approach to emissions reduction targets, legal bindingness, and support for developing countries. The Paris Agreement represents a more inclusive and flexible approach, recognizing the varying capacities and responsibilities of countries in addressing climate change.