The Kyoto Protocol of 1997, formed by the UN committed states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The aim was to reduce greenhouse gases to “a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The protocol was seen as weak and not that enforcing and it also hindered many developing countries that were not included in the list of developing countries to be exempted from the treaty. So what happened since the protocol, a sort of in-between of landmark international climate agreements?

The US dropped out of the protocol in 2001, and joined the 100 or so developing countries that were exempted from the treat (this list includes China and India). What made the protocol so weak was that no one in it was as big of a contributor as those who were exempt. Such as: China that produced 28% of global emissions and US with 14.5%.


We can see the results of these exemptions in this infographic. As we can see, the majority of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases are not only those who were exempted or left the protocol but we can also see that their emissions are growing faster than the rest with Germany and the UK even reducing their emissions since the Kyoto Protocol. The climate agreement in Paris this year is a testament to the increased worldwide perspective on climate change as all the big emitters are now signed up to the agreement. A special moment of the talks being Kim Jong-un’s declaration of war against deforestation.