Kyoto Protocol

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This glossary is far from complete. We are constantly adding terms.

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A treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions


  • Requires all industrialized countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by setting reduction targets
  • No requirement for reduction of greenhouse gases for developing countries
  • Set up a emissions training scheme (also known as a carbon exchange market). In this countries which emit less then the allocated amount can sell the difference to countries which exceed their targets.(Note that there are also separate carbon exchange markets, such as the European Union's emission trading scheme)
  • Created the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which encourages the transfer of technologies from developed to developing countries through a trading system similar to carbon markets. See Clean Development Mechanism


  • Some major greenhouse gas emitting countries have not ratified the treaty, most notably the United States
  • No reduction targets for developing countries
  • No enforcement mechanism
  • Problems with CDM credits being given to already existing projects (the treaty requires that credit should be given new projects or project improvements)

See also

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Clean Development Mechanism


UN page on Kyoto Protocol
Text of treaty (PDF) (HTML)
Status of Ratification