Our atmosphere is truly a global common good shared by all of us. Relatively short ago, we realized that human activity could significantly change our climate by changing the chemical composition of our atmosphere (this new understanding is at the origin of the idea of the Anthropocene). This brief history of international agreements to mitigate our effects on climate begins with the Montreal Protocol and ends with the Paris climate agreement. As we focus on the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris climate agreement, it is important that we know the previous agreements, which marked the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. In April 2016, the government responded to a review of Australia`s measures to reduce ozone-depleting gas emissions under the Montreal Protocol. The review contains a number of recommendations that the government will implement and will be implemented by early January 2018. The amendments necessary for the implementation of these proposed amendments must be submitted to this Parliament in order to meet the deadline set for 2018. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement on climate change developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The protocol encourages 192 parties to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, with many industrialized countries having binding emission reduction targets. The answer depends on who you ask and how you measure emissions. Since the first climate talks in the 1990s, officials have been debating which countries – developed and developing countries – are most responsible for climate change and should therefore reduce their emissions.
During the first legally binding commitment period (2008-2012), the Kyoto Protocol required that ratification countries be required by Schedule 1 to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 5 to 8% from 1990 levels by 2012. This figure shows the variation in countries` greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2011. Thanks to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, countries have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to rise and is heating the planet at an alarming rate. Scientists warn that this warming, if it continues unabated, could lead to environmental disasters in much of the world, including shocking sea level rise, record droughts and floods, and widespread species losses. Experts, activists and citizens are increasingly concerned about the lack of ambition or urgency of the commitments made by countries under these global agreements. Under this agreement, China, for example, will be able to increase these emissions by an incredible number of years – 13 years. They can do whatever they want for 13 years. We don`t. India is conditional on its participation in receiving billions and billions of dollars in foreign aid from industrialized countries.
There are many other examples. But at the end of the day, the Paris agreement is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States. The first period of the Kyoto Protocol ran from 2008 to 2012. Australia met and exceeded its first target of 108% of emissions from 1990 to 2012. For the second period 2013-2020, Australia set a target of 99.5% of emissions from 1990 to 2020 (5% below emission levels from 2000 to 2020). COP25 came after several reports confirmed that the party`s emissions reduction commitments were insufficient if we are to avoid a global temperature increase of 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, more than double the ambitious 1.5 degree Celsius target set by the Paris Agreement. In particular, a massive protest march took place in the middle of COP25 to draw attention to the gap between current progress in reducing emissions and the objectives of the agreement to limit the alert. Greta Thunberg, an international climate activist, joined the protest march following her symbolic transatlantic sailing circles to participate in the