Kyoto Protocols

Environmental Politics. Change climate. Greenhouse effect

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The KYOTO PROTOCOL, SUCCESS OR FAILURE. What is the paper of the policy-makers? Why governments are disagreeing?


2. Context of the problem

3.Kyoto Protocol


5.Argentina a special case


Environmental Politics is sensitive to the distinction between the goals of conservation and of a radical reordering of political and social preferences, and aims to explore the interface between these goals, rather than a favour any one position in contemporary debates.

As a result of the Neocorporativism, new actors have entered in Political sphere. Moreover the politics has lost the privilege of to be the only decisory in the Policy-Making. Nowadays a lot interest groups and organizations exert political influence to obtain their benefits and self-interest. Although the politics, and political parties, monitor the Policy-Making it makes that they are not worried about this. The problem is the negotiation with some of them to obtain their help and support to convince the citizens and the others groups. The Environmental Politics and others complex topics has driven to this situation, the politics by self need the opinion of experts due to it could be justified the birth of new organizations like:

The Embattled Climate treaty and its Protocol are the merge between countries, citizens and organizations to put remedy with the Environmental Problems, but like every resolution are difficult to achieve a total agreement. Therefore about this issue are retractors whom want to boycott this issue to apply their benefits, thus always all the parts has to be lobbing.

2. Context of the problem (extracted of htpp://

First of all we have to make some explanation about the problem, the change climate and why the governments are very worried about this issue. Characteristics:

It is a global problem, which affect al the world, but there aren't an international organization that has or will have an important weight to obligate the countries, we need some. The UN is trying to correct this disfunctionality because it has the same problem. Therefore most of the countries try to face the problem together and they would like to find a global solution.

The problem is long-term, the consequences are potentially irreversible. The Kyoto Protocol has only short-term targets for some industrialized countries. This question we are going to explain in the essay.

Associated human activities are pervasive; the increase of gases emissions is due to human activities, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels and from deforestation. 

If the trends in greenhouse emissions growth are not altered, global temperatures are expected to rise between 1.4 and 5.8 Grades. (C)

The effects and changes over physical and biological systems:

a). Agricultural production, the production of the first sector is suffering some changes due to change climate.

b). Water supply, with the past of the time some parts of the world haven't potable water due to pollution.

c). Forests, the trees make an important function to renovate the air and the civilization tends to the deforestation.

d). Citizens, they are going to be the most prejudiced actor if it will proceed. So they are trying to solve the problem with the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

All of this mixed with the rise of the population in the world and the need to accomplish an economic growth. The industrialized countries produce some facts 63% of human-related carbon dioxide and 80% population lives in the developing countries. On the other hand developing countries have other problems: health care for example.

The hole in the ozone layer and the enhanced greenhouse effect are two distinct issues, but there are some connections between them. The gasses that make the hole in the ozonelayer (chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs) are also major greenhouse gasses, potentionally much more dangerous than CO2. As Sjoerd mentions the production of these gasses has almost stopped (thanks to the Montreal Protocol), so they are not included in the UNFCCC. But the gasses that replaced CFCs in refrigerators (HFCs) are still a climate treat and they are included in the Kyoto Protocol. 

What is happening with the temperature of the earth? The only energy that the Earth receives from outside sources are the sunrays and the light energy radiated by the Sun. Every day, the Earth is irradiated with huge amounts of solar energy. If this energy was simply accumulated on our planet, the Earth would just become warmer and warmer each day. The Earth, however, releases the same amount of energy that it receives from the Sun into space, in other words, the incoming and outgoing energy remains in equilibrium. As a result, the ground surface temperature remains at an average of 15 degrees C over many years. It is worth noting that most of the energy received from the Sun is in the form of visible light rays, that are, of course, easy to see. The energy radiated to space from the Earth, however, is not visible; because the Earth's temperature is relatively low, this energy is emitted in the form of infrared rays. Furthermore it can be used as a source of energy: it will be better due to be a renewable source and it didn't make pollution.

According to the results of observations, the average temperature of the Earth became about 0.6 degrees C higher during the past one-hundred years, and it is said that a part of this increment has been a result of the growing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  If the concentration of carbon dioxide continues, the greenhouse effect will become more and more serious, increasing our fears of an acceleration of global warming.

  As mentioned previously, carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse effect gas. Methane, nitrous oxide, CFCs/HCFCs/HFCs, ozone, and water vapour also contribute to the greenhouse effect. A comparison of the relative greenhouse effect of each gas reveals that nearly two-thirds of the total greenhouse effect can be attributed to carbon dioxide. Therefore, as a temporary step and as a most relevant approach to prevent global warming, regulating carbon dioxide emissions is planned.

To discuss from another point of view, influence of the greenhouse effect gases on the Earth's surface temperature depends to which extend the gas in question absorbs the infrared radiations from the surface of the Earth, this situation also generate some disease like skin cancer and other diseases that have been studied and it will be discussed in the next Framework.
  For this purpose, a concept called GWP (global warming potential) was introduced. The GWP is an index used for monitoring the influence on the temperature of the Earth surface due to the increase of the concerned greenhouse effect gas, compared to the effect due to same amount of carbon dioxide.

The production of CFCs, (Chloro-Fluoro-Carbon) means a carbonic compound with chlorine and fluorine, has been prohibited by the Montreal protocol in order to prevent the destruction of the ozone layer. However the reduction of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs is also an important idea concerning the global warming and the Kyoto Protocol is based on these gases.

  Some studies are indicating that the carbon dioxide concentration is low in the summer season, as the plants due to the enhanced activities of photosynthesis absorb the carbon dioxide in the air.

Those concentration levels are measured by using air accumulated in the "ice core" drilled from the ice bed in the Antarctic and in Greenland.

Earth has increased its temperature about 0.6 degrees C during the past one-hundred years, according to the results of observations, and it is said that a part of this increment has been a result of the growing amount of carbon dioxide in atmosphere. 
  If the concentration of carbon dioxide continues to increase in this manner, the greenhouse effect will become more and more conspicuous, increasing our fears of an acceleration of global warming, CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs are familiar for us because they are used as refrigerant for air conditioning systems and refrigerators.

3.Kyoto Protocol

The efforts of legal experts, economists, engineers and many others to draft the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC, 1992 or Climate Treaty) and its first Protocol (The Kyoto Protocol, 1997) and plan for their implementation have been costly and time-consuming. The research enterprise in the engineering, natural sciences and social science has been active in this issue area at least since the 1970s, with close links established between the problem, technological solutions and police advice since the early 1980s.

The knowledge needed for effective and acceptable implementation ranges far beyond the natural sciences but depends for credibility on the acceptance as 'true' of a scientific consensus agreed between scientist and bureaucracies inside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1995,2000,2001. While natural science expertise provides evidence for claims that action is needed, economists provide the criteria and numbers for projects and policies that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. Selected experts define what may be funded as "global environmental benefit'. It is not intended to contribute to political theory but to our understanding of current debates about global energy-environmental policy.

With the adoption of differentiation, carbon sinks, emission trading and aid for emissions cuts in poor countries, the Kyoto Protocol has grown in complexity and transaction costs, but also offers expanding opportunities for assorted experts, investors, middlemen and in particular, national and international bureaucracies and their professional advisors. Since all stakeholders have tried to emerge as 'winners' from these negotiations, 'net' emissions now need to be calculated for the whole earth surface and all relevant emissions need to be counted, costed and monitored. This applies also to individual projects that claim to reduce the emission of greenhouse. Administrative nightmares will affect national planning through the Kyoto Protocol's flexible mechanisms: emission trading, project-related joint implementation (JI) and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) that is to assist developing countries only. The latter two promote investments in poorer economies where the energy efficiency tends to be low and emission reduction can therefore be achieved more cheaply. The US had therefore insisted on emission trading and sinks (carbon sequestration by landuse changes) to be maximised as 'flexible' implementation mechanisms, but even further concessions in both did not persuade the Bush administration to join the Kyoto Protocol club. The failure of the Sixth Conference of Parties (COP-6) in Bonn in September 2001 was the result, with the US withdrawal justified on the grounds of equity, economic impacts and weak science. The subsequent 'success' at Marrakech (COP 7) a little later was reached by even greater compromise and remains highly dubious beyond enabling the European Union to continue its internal and aid policies. Russia and Japan are emerged as winners and net emission reduction globally of less than three per cent compared to 1990. The USA remains outside the Protocol but no the Convention.

Examples of active participants are the Club of Rome, World Wide Fund for Nature, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, World Resources Institute, Brundtland Commission, the International Council of Scientific Union's Committee on Problems of the Environment, Bird life and the Commission on Sustainable Development.

The big institutional fuel suppliers tend to have mixed interests: companies based on oil and gas may also own coal and nuclear station, and are increasingly investing in renewable if subsidies are available. The USA is third's major fossil fuel importer and an important exporter. Fuel suppliers are organised through the World Coal Council, Uranium Institute and World Energy Council. Energy Technology is provided by General Electric (Usa, quarter of the market), Siemens (Germany), ABB (Swiss Swedish), GEC-Alsthom (Anglo-French) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan. As technology providers, they may seek subsidies and regulation to support trade, as well as political stability and the removal of market of market barriers to new products.

Also is difficult to measure due to per capita emissions are another global and national abstraction. Uniform emission cuts have non-uniform consequences when faced with geographic reality: climate, wages, housing distances to work and life styles differ so widely that uniformity between and certainly inside them would create new inequalities and invite political conflict.

Stiglitz argues that governments had ignored the importance of financial regulation where 'market failure' is particularly dominant and corporate governance poor due to lack of information, of sound legal systems based on private property and competitive markets. In his point of view, government should make markets work better. Competition, education and technological change should be promoted, with environmental protection subsumed under 'sustainable development' and expected to be achieved by regulated markets. Like Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen some of the financial aid provided by GEF, World Bank and potentially at least, The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), is to help developing country governments to acquire the capacity to implement the climate treaty and thereby contribute to 'sustainable development'. Funding streams are to assist in binding 'clean energy' to the South, although at higher costs to recipients and with the risk of debt default.

One of the characteristics of the environment policies is the rise of new actors in Policy-Making. This situation is due to vast investments would be needed. The politicians by themself can not decide what it is the best solution to solve the Change Climate, they need professional experts who are going to work closely with them. About the financing and the budgeting of work of experts, experimental projects, some are financed from World Bank and GEF. Despite others proceeded from private initiatives, mostly from chemicals industries, that invest to improve their products with relationship the Change Climate. Moreover they can receive some help fund from the National Government in order to obtain the government the results. Lastly, some countries have developed Programs and Mechanism to invest in these programs. Argentina is one of them as it is explained in the next chapter.

Developing countries face how climate change might have an impact on food production and economic production, they aren't worried in other things due to they have other problems.

To discuss, only legally binding requirements for emission limits exist for industrialized countries. How it could affect to the Kyoto Protocol, linked with the anterior point of view?

The Kyoto Protocol Targets is based in the differentiation, reflects the Climate Convention's promise to give "full consideration" to the "specifics needs and circumstances" of Parties (UNFCCC 1992, ARTICLE 3.2)

A politically negotiation is the best way to implicate the countries to be active and accept the targets, harmonized approaches.

Emission targets with market mechanisms linked with international program have fewer costs, scale economy.

Parties have a right to, and should promote, sustainable development. Policies and measures to protect the climate system against human induced change should appropriate to the specific condition of each party and should be integrated with national development programmes, taking into account that economic development is essential for adopting measures to address climate change (UNFCCC 1992, article 3.4)   

The Article 4.8 supports the Sustainable Development Programme and the Implementation Program both. And 4.9 The Sustainable Development Programme. The clause 3.14 supports by the Implementation Programme

Article 4.8 of the Convention calls on Parties to consider actions, including those related to funding, insurance and the transfer of technology, to meet the specific needs and concerns of developing countries in this regard, listing categories of countries (e.g. small island countries and countries whose economies are highly dependent on fossil fuel) that may be particularly affected.

Article 4.9 of the Convention refers specifically to the needs and special situation of the least developed countries (LDCs) concerning funding and the transfer of technology.

At COP 4 (Buenos Aires, November 1998), Parties adopted a work programme on this issue as part of the "Buenos Aires Plan of Action", culminating at COP 6 (The Hague, November 2000)

Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol echoes the Convention provisions on this issue by requiring Annex I Parties to strive to implement their emission targets in such a way as to minimize adverse social, environmental and economic impacts on developing countries, particularly those identified in Article 4.8 and 4.9. It also calls on the COP serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP) to consider, at its first session, what actions are necessary to minimize such adverse impacts.

Article 3.14 of the Kyoto Protocol was first placed on the agenda for consideration as a separate item at COP 5 (Bonn, October/November 1999). At that session, Parties decided to consider this item further at COP 6 in order to develop input for COP/MOP 1.

The Marrakech Accords also established a separate work programme for LDCs. This work programme is centred on the preparation of national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), which open up a simplified channel for LDCs to inform donors of their urgent and immediate adaptation needs. This responds to the fact that LDCs already need urgent support to help them adapt to climate change, but many lack the capacity to prepare full national communications detailing those urgent needs in the near future. The preparation of NAPAs will be funded by the newly-created least developed countries fund.

The Kyoto has some troubles or inconvenient:

The solutions are short-term solutions, what will happen after 2012? Will be another Protocol? There are some discussion panel to look for few changes.

The North is divided: countries like USA or Australia hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol but they believe that the Change Climate is one of their political issues. They don't agree with the conjectural politic approved however they realized that the coordination is the best way to improve in the investigation. Boehmer-Crisitiansen and Kellow 2002 argue that the benefits of Kyoto remain to biased against to US economy that is more heavily dependent than Europe on fossil fuels that are highly taxed. In March 2001 the United States abandoned the Kyoto Protocol due to:

a). Lack of developing countries participation

b). High economic costs

The nuclear power is not faced as a problem; where is the position of the renewable energies in this society? What is the opinion of the enterprises about the energies renewable?; Where the governments put away the nuclear residues? At the moment, the nuclear power is not a problem a short time and some states believe that it is not a problem. But we have to face the nuclear power as a long-term problem and perhaps some researcher (Green peace was the first one to support this theory) thinks that is a problem in our lives. Everybody knows that nuclear power don't produce pollution due to don't make gas emission but its residues are deposit on the underground of the earth and many questions can be made; What will happen if a nuclear power plant had a nuclear fugue? One example could be Chernobyl, couldn't it? What will happen if an earthquake would be place? What will happen if somebody misapplies nuclear power? Nowadays the governments are not concerned about the risks of this power and its consequences. For this reason we have to encourage the investigations to find new options, although nuclear power is needed in our society. Some trends seem to indicate that, for certain regions at least, energy consumption tends towards more independence from grid connected supplies, Indeed autonomous choice and self-sufficiency seem to be increasing in a number of industrial countries, where households of producing part of their own electricity needs - installing photo-voltaic panels on the roof of the houses

- Building wind turbines in their backyards.

On the other hand the oversized accumulation of citizens in an area (Urbanization) are calling for large power plants and integrated networks. In these areas is necessary to make a Program in order to proofread this situation and create a Mechanism to impel an “environmental behaviour”. The supply of the nuclear energy stem from the larges cities that need grand and quick that its are not able to produce by itself.

For this reason the people attitude will be the point to begin of the policy-makers to implement some energy-policies about the nuclear energy. They will make studies of the heterogeneity and attitude of the people to decide, they will be the responsible of the failure of this policy, and also of the success.

Moreover Green Peace calls the enterprises and governments to task the Kyoto Protocol. Also it has denounced the risks of the nuclear power and Matthew Spencer, Green peace Energy Campaign Director has announced, “Some Governments are using security of supply and climate change as a smokescreen for propping up the nuclear sector, a policy which is damaging players in the renewable energy industry."

A special case is Germany that has made a Program to eliminate the nuclear power plant of this country, we have to emphasize that Germany is member of the OECD.

The future of nuclear energy will be influenced by consumer behaviour and the evolution in energy consumption and use patterns; but changes in the life patterns, such as people working at home via Internet or changes the household and location, are consequently a role to justify the use of nuclear energy.

Some countries have comparative benefit, because they haven't binding compliments, for this reason they are not limited in economical and political facts. Some developed countries, like USA, have denounced this situation. Others believe in the way and the manner to do the Mechanism, because it is a diplomatic way and they give chance to developing countries to be active member of the solution.

Corporations and investments will surely continue to shape the global energy market whether or not the Kyoto Protocol is fully implemented.


To resume, Kyoto is not a real solution but it is the first step to affronter the issue of Change Climate. It is not clear yet whether the global failure, but we have to think about this issue we need a well-organised and persistent activism which draws on the skills of a wide range of the community, academic and professional actors which can tap the deal well of political activism within the Civil Rights regard. Thus the environmental justice is still seen as 'someone else's problem'. Furthermore we are waiting the promise of Collaborative Environmental Policy-Making

Climate Change Agreement is a good sign, but economical and political solutions are needed in order to achieve a success project and policy. The scale of the issue makes hard to work the global institutions and national governments due to limitation to decide. But the citizens and the policymakers have not to be satisfied; we need more to live without dangerous. While the industrialized countries must take the lead in reducing greenhouse gasses emissions, developing countries can and must play a leadership role in shaping durable and workable solutions to climate change at the international level. This project helps to reduce the line between North and South.

5.Argentina a special case

Argentina signed the Kyoto Protocol at 16/03/98 and it was ratified at 28/09/01. The policy statement of Argentina is to defence the Kyoto Protocol in concordance with the Argentina's Environmental Politics. The Argentina's Government has approved a Mechanism based on the clean development, inside the Department of Social Development and Sustainable Environment, to help to solve the climatic global change. For this reason, the Government, though the Secretariat of Environment and Development Sustainable, has initiated the National Program on Impacts of the Change Climatic, as one of the components of the National Strategy on the other hand Climatic. It is study the possible effects on the climates of their country. The principal aims of the Program are:

Impacts of the climatic global change implies on the climates of the different regions of the national territory.

Sensibility of the natural, productive and social systems of every region to changes in the climate, and its vulnerability opposite to specific current conditions and future Strategies of adjustment suitable in order to avoid or to minimize negative impacts

To articulate the actions on the other hand climatic with those of other national related, such programs like those of struggle against the desertification, those of preservation of the biodiversity, and struggle against

Why? During the Kyoto Negotiations (COP3), Argentina's policymakings agree to promote voluntary commitments for developing countries in the Protocol. (In the protocol there aren't any clause about this issue, due to China opposition).

By adopting voluntary commitments, Argentina sought to gain access to emissions trading and JI, which were designed for the countries in the Annex 1. The NGO's have supported the Argentina's action but most the countries didn't agree with Argentina, and it was isolated. They saw that Mennen Policy to be close to United States.

Establishing the target had two faces:

a). The decision for Argentina to adopt a target was made at the highest levels of government without consulting interest groups and moreover other areas of the government. (A characteristic of the Mennen's governance).

b). The promulgation of the Decree Number 377/99 on April 16,1999 work on target and quantification started with the creation of the National Commission for the Elaboration and Proposal of a Greenhouse Emission Target.

The private sector participated through Advisory Committee where were represented NGO's, businessmen and investigators doing periodical meetings with the Commission's goals.

The Commission choose the type and level of target on basis of information from inventories, emission projections, product research (sectorial and aggregate), and mitigation-options studies considering both magnitude and feasibility. 

This situation is unbelievably due to economics troubles; the government believe in the opportunity that Kyoto Protocol offers to ameliorate to the countries, to progress but within respect in the climate and to the citizens of the world.


Learning from the Argentine Voluntary Commitments; Authors: Daniel Bouille and Osvaldo Girardin.

Websites of the government of Argentina.

General Bibliography

a). Magazines about Environmental Politics: Hearth, Greenpeace magazine…

b). Boehmer-Cristiansen, S.A and A. Kellow 2002 The Making of International Environmental Policy: Science, - - Norms and Interests in Kyoto Process, London: Edward Elgar

c). Stiglit, J. 1997 'Stepping Towards Balance; Addressing Global Climate Change' paper read at the Fifth World Bank Conference on 'Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development', Washington, DC, 6 Oct.

d). UN 1997 'Framework Convention on Climate Change, conference of the parties'1-10 Dec.

e). Participation in Public Policy-making, Breu.Tiziano (1995) Ed. Universal).

f).Websites: Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is a specialised agency within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organisation of industrialised countries, based in Paris, France) Nations website) Climate, Biodiversity, and Forests: Issues and Opportunities Emerging from the Kyoto Protocol.