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Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that was adopted on December 11, 1997, in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on February 16, 2005. Its primary objective is to combat global warming by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The protocol commits its signatories, primarily developed countries and economies in transition, to adhere to binding emission reduction targets. This initiative is grounded in the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, recognizing that while all countries are responsible for addressing climate change, the burden of mitigation falls more heavily on industrialized nations that have historically contributed the most to GHG emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol sets specific limits on GHG emissions for participating countries and introduces multiple mechanisms to achieve these reductions. These mechanisms include International Emissions Trading, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and Joint Implementation (JI). International Emissions Trading allows countries with surplus allowances to sell them to countries that are over their targets. The CDM facilitates sustainable development projects in developing nations that reduce emissions, providing developed countries with emission reduction credits. Similarly, JI enables developed countries to earn emission reduction units by investing in projects that lower emissions in other developed countries.

Overall, the Kyoto Protocol was a pioneering step in global climate policy, laying the groundwork for subsequent international agreements, such as the Paris Agreement. While it has faced criticisms and challenges, especially concerning its enforcement and the withdrawal of some key countries, it remains a significant landmark in the collective effort to mitigate climate change and promote sustainability.