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The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty designed to limit global greenhouse gas emissions. Many Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including Australia, have signed the Protocol since negotiations were concluded at the third session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 3).
Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998. By signing the Protocol, countries agree to continue with the treaty-making process, but do not consent to be bound by the Protocol. The rules for implementing the Protocol were developed following COP 3, with negotiation concluded at COP 7 in Marrakesh, November 2001. After entry into force on 16 February 2005, the Protocol will be legally binding for countries that have ratified it (referred to as ‘Parties to the Kyoto Protocol’).
The Government has decided not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol because, while it has some positive elements, it does not provide a comprehensive or environmentally effective long-term response to climate change. There is no clear pathway for action by developing countries, and the United States has indicated that it will not ratify. Without commitments by all major emitters, the Protocol will deliver only about a 1% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions.
The Government is committed to Australia’s internationally agreed target of limiting emissions to 108% of 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. Due to strong action by the Australian Government, including around $1.8 billion domestic climate change programme, Australia is on track to meet this target.
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