We in the United States are beginning in earnest THIS YEAR to demand that our governments (at all levels) take onclimate change is a a real way – beginning with a splashy launch in Washington, DC on Sunday, February 17th at the Climate Forward Rally (are you joining us?) Cumulative impacts of extreme weather events over the past few years have helped many people in the US and around the world, clearly understand and see, from personal experience, that we need to find solutions to our climate reality – for our health, welfare and future and that of our children too. The international community also remains in a state of “flux” or a “stalemate” as to what we should be doing together, internationally, to address climate change. The Kyoto Protocol, the only real binding program that the United Nations agreed upon to measure our progress on greenhouse gas emissions reductions (the main causes of human caused climate change) effectively “expired” in 2012.
We reported on the 20th Anniversary of the Earth Summit, which was held in Brazil this past spring – in a nutshell, not much happened. Our friends from the United Kingdom at InfoProductReview have kindly shared this great graphic with us that attempts to “sum up” where we are at with the Kyoto Protocol, and if it has been successful. For all the very “visual” kids in our life, this is a pretty great way to help them understand what is going on at the international level on climate change solutions. In the Guest Post below InfoProductReivew helps us understand and visualize the state of affairs at the international level!
(Are you asking yourself, do I have tie to read this and why should I care. I am so busy etc., etc.) At ClimateMama we believe that n order for each of us to make our own personal changes and demand local, regional and national actions to address climate change, it is important that we understand and see the “big picture” too.
To join or find out more about The Forward on Climate Rally in Washington DC, contact us at info (at) climatemama dot com
Yours, Climate Mama
The Kyoto Protocol – What Has It Achieved?
With the Kyoto Protocol’s expiration in 2012, it’s high time that we assessed it’s impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions – taking data from the United Nations and the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency, PBL, InfoProductReview aim to do just that with their recently published info graphic.
Winners And Losers
The first chart in the sequence shows nation’s performance against their respective targets since 1990, e.g. a nation targeting a 5% reduction in emissions over the period that went on to see a 10% increase would score -15.
Overall, there have been more successes than failures amongst nations with Kyoto targets and as whole, collective emissions have decreased considerably.
Outside Of The Treaty
Sadly, these successes have not been mirrored elsewhere, particularly within the developing world (see 2nd chart). Indeed, total global CO2 emissions have continued to soar with China leading 60% of that increase since the late 90s.
As can be seen from the third chart in the sequence, the surge in fossil fuel usage since the late 90s has been almost entirely driven by the developing world.
A Misleading Picture
But the developed world is not so innocent, with emissions per capita well above the levels seen in the developing world (CO2 emissions per capita in the US are around twice the levels seen in China).
What’s more, the increasing amount of international trade has led some to argue that developed countries have simply ‘exported’ their carbon burden offshore (via imports). In fact, according to standard data, developed countries can claim to have reduced their collective emissions by around 2% since 1990, yet if we add back the carbon cost of imports (and subtract exports) the true change is an increase of around 7%.
Weighing It All Up
So has the Kyoto Protocol been effective in achieving its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Looking at the final chart in the sequence, no, clearly not. CO2 emissions have continued to soar and the ever-intertwined nature of our global economy makes individual nation targets misleading.
What we can say however, is that as the only international agreement of its kind, the Kyoto Protocol has been an extremely important first step in global climate diplomacy, what is key now is what will follow.
Please help support the ‘Kyoto – We Must Do More!’ cause by sharing this info graphic.