Kyoto Protocol Pros and Cons List
Climate change is a topic that produces a number of different opinions on both sides of the debate. While there are some who see climate change as a very real phenomenon and a trend that needs to be bucked immediately, there are others who do not see the need for dramatic action and would rather maintain the status quo.
Many developed countries around the world have reached a consensus when it comes to climate change and have made changes to their policies as needed. On the other hand, the debate continues to rage in the United States and there is very little evidence that both sides can come to a definitive agreement.
Due to the lack of agreement about climate changes and its overall effect on humanity, the United States tends to steer clear of all international legislation on the topic. When it comes to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, America has yet to take a firm stand on the topic.
The Kyoto Protocol is just one of many international policies that has been enacted with the objective of reducing the number of greenhouse gas emissions. The treaty was signed back in 1997, allowing member states to address the issue of greenhouse gas damage to the planet’s atmosphere. In order to learn more about this protocol and the inherent advantages and disadvantages, it is crucial to know all of the most critical pros and cons. Read on to learn more.
List of Pros of Kyoto Protocol
1. Provides a Brighter Future For All of Mankind
Over the next one hundred years, scientists have predicted that the average temperature of our planet will rise by at least ten degrees, if not higher. Researchers arrived at these conclusions after extensive research and most believe that their findings should not be taken lightly. The Kyoto Protocol is a global imitative that was designed with the intent of pinpointing the issues that are causing these changes and eliminating them over the course of time.
These estimations are based on the cumulative effect of 150 years’ worth of industrialization that has taken place all over the planet. Ignoring is foolhardy and irresponsible. If serious changes are not made, the planet’s future welfare could be at stake, which changes the equation for future generations who are relying on the leaders to preserve their quality of life.
2. Provides The Foundation For Innovation
The Kyoto Protocol was designed with the future in mind, with an eye towards enacting certain limitations that would provide fuel for the ability of government bodies to innovate. Technologies that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are given top priority and thanks to the Kyoto Protocol, these new ideas are given the chance to be properly researched and developed.
No great research and development is done unless the proper motivation is provided and the Kyoto Protocol was constructed with this important fact in mind. Unless more government bodies are willing to acknowledge the growing dangers that are associated with climate change and provide the necessary motivation for fixing them, the long term health of the planet is in severe danger.
3. Thinking Of The Welfare of Future Children
Our children do not deserve to be left with an uninhabitable wasteland, just because the powers that be did not find it necessary to make the changes needed to provide them with a much more sustainable society. One of the main issues in modern society is a severe lack of forward thinking and a refusal to take responsibility for the future.
The world that we currently live in will be inherited by our children, and more importantly, our children’s children. If we do not take the proper steps now, while there is still time, there is no telling what planet we will be leaving behind. Thanks to the Kyoto Protocol, countries are now thinking about the long term effects of their short term actions, which should have a positive effect on the environment’s long term health.
4. Consequences For Companies Who Pollute
The Kyoto Protocol took the unprecedented step of setting concrete numeric goals for government bodies to reach in terms of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. Companies were told to reduce their emission levels significantly, to at least 5 percent below the level at which they were recorded in 1990. While this is no simple task, a line in the sand had to be drawn to motivate countries to make the correct choices going forward.
Countries who find themselves unable to meet the protocol standards are required to pay a carbon tax, which has been a powerful motivating factor in spurring action. Any money that is collected from countries who do not learn how to properly control their emissions is used for further development and research, making this policy a win/win for all involved parties.
List of Cons of Kyoto Protocol
1. Not Enough Worldwide Participation
One of the main issues that has come into play when it comes to the Kyoto Protocol is that the crux of the plan is well thought out, yet requires the participation of more nations than are currently involved. Many developed nations that are most responsible for the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (most notably the United States) have yet to sign on.
Without the participation of the world’s most polluted nations, the Kyoto Protocol becomes an idea that works much better in theory than it does in practice. The countries that can make the biggest difference are not currently participating, which places certain limitations on what this protocol can accomplish. Until this changes, the impact will be muted at best.
2. Tough Policy To Learn and Implement
One of the main criticisms of the Kyoto Protocol is that it can be difficult to read and grasp for those who are not well versed in such manners. Countries who have yet to make changes to their greenhouse gas emission policies often find the protocol hard to understand, which makes the proper implementation hard to come by. With the current protocol, countries are actually asked to self report their violations and statistics.
Clearly, this is not a policy that fosters a transparent relationship between the countries who sign the protocol and those who are responsible for enforcing it. The system that is in place does not take this into account and detractors are quick to point out that lack of enforceable penalty makes this protocol somewhat toothless and changes will have to be made for the Kyoto Protocol to reach peak effectiveness.
3. Alternative Technology Has Not Advanced Far Enough
While the Kyoto Protocol’s objective is commendable, it ignores the fact that many countries and regions do not have reliable access to alternative forms of energy. Making the changes necessary to fix greenhouse gas emission related issues is much easier said than done and nations cannot always afford to make the switch to alternative sources of energy.
Until the day comes when alternative energy is cheap and easy to implement, certain nations will struggle to make the necessary changes to their policies. Paying the carbon tax penalties can serve as a motivational factor, but these penalties typically pale in comparison to the costs that are associated with shifting to alternative forms of energy, which removes some of the protocol’s effectiveness.
4. Skeptics Remain Unconvinced
There are a number of people out there who are skeptical about the concept of climate change. They believe that the liberal media is fabricating the issue as a scare tactic. They also believe that the planet will continue to become warmer naturally and that there is zero need to panic about what is to come. Those who are in this group of skeptics tend to be tough to convince and many have simply given up trying.
The Kyoto Protocol does nothing to persuade this group to change their point of view about what is going on in the world and until the skeptics are spurred into action, there is a glass ceiling placed on the effectiveness of these policies. Climate change skeptics laugh in the face of scientific studies and specific information and unfortunately for proponents of the Kyoto Protocol, many of these people still hold positions of power.