What is the Kyoto Protocol? - Definition, Summary, Pros & Cons

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What is Moral Diplomacy? - Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 What is the Kyoto Protocol?
  • 0:28 Greenhouse Gases
  • 1:40 Kyoto Protocol Conditions
  • 2:32 Pros and Cons
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kimberly Winston

Kimberly has a MBA in Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Have you ever thought that year after year the weather seems to be changing for the worse? In the following lesson you will learn about the Kyoto Protocol and how nations are working together to decrease or slow global warming.

What Is the Kyoto Protocol?

The Kyoto Protocol is the international agreement between industrialized nations to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is named after Kyoto, Japan, where the agreement was drawn up in 1997 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Now that we know what the protocol was, let's take a closer look at what it was attempting to address.

Greenhouse Gases

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), greenhouse gas emission occurs as a result of human activities. GHG is the emission of any gaseous substance that inhibits the release of heat from the atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise at the earth's surface and ultimately, causing the occurrence of extreme weather for extended periods of time.

Many reports point to the burning of fossil fuels as a large source of GHGs. What does this mean? What is humanity's role in creating GHGs? When fossil fuels are burned they produce energy, which is used for such things as electricity or fuel. So, when it is said that GHGs are caused as a result of human activity, it could be caused from something as simple as driving to work. How many times have you driven to work, school, or your local park just in the last week?

Now, imagine millions of other people doing the same thing. Add millions of other activities that require electricity or fuel into the GHG equation and you have a big problem. The Kyoto Protocol is the United Nations' attempt to address this issue. The Kyoto Protocol is mainly concerned with six GHGs:

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Methane
  • Sulfur hexafluoride
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Penfluorocarbons
  • Hydrofluorocarbons

Kyoto Protocol Conditions

There were two conditions that the United Nations insisted on for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The first condition was that at least 55 industrialized nations needed to sign the agreement. The second condition was that the nations that signed the agreement had to account for at least 55% of the world's emissions. The Kyoto Protocol was scheduled to be in effect 90 days after the conditions were met.

The first condition was satisfied when Iceland signed the agreement on May 23, 2002. The second condition was satisfied when Russia signed the agreement in November of 2004. The Kyoto Protocol went into effect on February 16, 2005. Each nation that signed the agreement had individual targets to lower their emissions by. The Kyoto Protocol set an overall target to lower GHG emissions by 5.2 percent of the 1990 GHG emissions between the periods of 2008 to 2012.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account