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KYOTO PROTOCOL (1997)

The KYOTO PROTOCOL was an international environmental treaty adopted in 1997 at COP 3 in Kyoto, Japan, before coming into force in 2005. The ‘Protocol’ extended the UNFCCC (1992). The ‘Convention’ had committed ‘developed countries’ to adopt national policies with a view to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels, but without setting a deadline. The ‘Protocol’ went further by committing those ‘developed countries’ to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% of their 1990 levels by the end of 2012 and and to report on progress periodically. The ‘Protocol’ followed the principles and provisions of the ‘Convention’ including it annex-based structure and only bound ‘developed countries’. This heavier burden on ‘developed countries’ recognises the fact that they were largely responsible for the current high levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

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