Kyoto Protocol and South Africa’s Role

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement between countries/parties that is linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The linked parties commit to reduce their Green House Gas (GHG) emissions by setting binding targets.One of the main distinctions between the Protocol and Convention is that the Convention encouraged industrialised countries to reduce/stabilise their GHG emissions, while the Protocol commits them to targets. 

The protocol was adopted in December 1997 in Kyoto, Japan. Binding targets were set for industrialised countries to reduce their GHG emissions by at least 5% in the period 2008 – 2012, compared to the levels in 1990. During the second commitment period, from 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2020, parties commit to reduce GHG emissions by at least 18% below 1990 levels.

SA also agreed to the Kyoto Protocol in 2002 as a developing country and was not obliged to the more demanding commitments.

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UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, viewed at 17 November 2014 from