Taking out the technical mumbo jumbo, the Kyoto Protocol is simply an international treaty that aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. It involves a legal binding agreement that commits State Parties to help mitigate global warming. It was created based on the premise that global warming exists and it is caused by human activities.
Climate change is a controversial subject, however, and people are divided about it, with some claiming that it poses no real threat. But scientists agree that by the year 2100, the average global temperature will hit 100F that will result to climate and weather changes that will have significant impact.
List of Pros of Kyoto Protocol
1. Mitigates threat to mankind’s future
A few scientists may say that there’s no real evidence that surface temperature is rising, but there are vital signs that show otherwise — ice on lakes and rivers breaks up earlier, glaciers are getting smaller, and heat waves are becoming more intense. If the world continues to ignore these signs, it won’t be long before the ecosystem, agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure are compromised due to heat waves, rising sea levels, heavy downpours, increased ocean acidity, and soil erosion. As wildfires increase, water supplies will decrease. So why not welcome a move to keep such threats under control?
2. Creates plenty of room for innovation
The Kyoto Protocol puts limitations in human activities, ensuring that they don’t do anything that can further exacerbate the situation. So, in developing technologies that will help reduce greenhouse gases, scientists and engineers would have to find ways to create them without contributing to global warming. This would lead to innovation and creation of sustainable technologies.
3. Puts to mind future generations
Children will inherit whatever positive and negative impact that older generations have left behind. By ensuring that environmental destruction is kept under control, if not completely eradicated, the future generation might still have a place to live in. This is what exactly what the Kyoto Protocol can promise.
List of Cons of the Kyoto Protocol
1. Requires more participation
Considering that not all countries agree that climate change exists, very few of the world’s nations have participated with the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, only six countries have signed on, according to some records. This explains why reduction of greenhouse gases is not followed and implemented in some parts of the globe. Unless everyone commits, problems of greenhouse gas emissions would persist. After all, the wind will carry whatever pollution one country has to another, effectively spreading its destruction.
2. Poor implementation
The idea behind the Kyoto Protocol has merits. Unfortunately, implementation is hitting a brick wall. Apart from the fact that very few countries made a commitment to the largest contributors of pollution and greenhouse gases, India and China, are not obliged to honor the protocol. So, regardless of the efforts of other countries, the protocol would not be as effective.
3. Big issues are associated with it
Say the entire world is committed to the Kyoto Protocol. The new challenge now will be in ensuring that the public will participate. How can governments and authorities ensure compliance? If the cleanup doesn’t happen in the public sectors, the protocol would still be for naught.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.