The Kyoto Protocol: Bad News for the Global Environment
Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, Vol. 14, p. 27, 2004
21 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2005
The Kyoto Protocol will have little effect upon atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Even so, Kyoto and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change could have established a path to solving the climate change problem. Unfortunately, they do not. Instead, they contain features that, if applied to future international environmental agreements, will make resolution of global environmental problems more difficult: Emission targets are expressed in terms of reductions, not limits; each party has a different target, in accordance with its "differentiated responsibilities"; the more pollution a country has produced in the past, the more lenient are its obligations; economic development is encouraged to the detriment of the global atmosphere; the objective is not the prevention of climate change, but its management; progress on climate change is proclaimed but not achieved. Kyoto is the latest in a series of international environmental "first steps" that are politically appealing but inadequate in form as well as substance.
Keywords: Kyoto Protocol, climate change, international environmental law, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation