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Past and Future of the Kyoto Protocol


Past and Future of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is the most prominent and complex global environmental agreement, consisting of differentiated greenhouse gas emission caps for industrialized countries. The Kyoto regime has an extensive institutional embedding and has introduced a set of flexible compliance instruments. A major reason why the Kyoto Protocol was realized despite widely divergent interests was that the main concerns of different nation states were met. If the Kyoto regime fails after all, because of insufficient ratification or noncompliance with targets, the consequences may be disruptive. Pessimism may spill over to other fields of environmental and/or international cooperation. The media may also magnify the impact of a failure. Government should prepare the management of such a disruption, in particular by anticipatively elaborating alternative strategies (such as a renegotiation of the Protocol, maintaining the Kyoto institutions and mechanisms, or concluding agreements with businesses) and by effectively communicating causes and consequences to the public. We recommend that the future climate policy of Dutch national government should aim at linking the climate issue to other, high-priority policy areas. Other ministries (especially economic affairs, internal affairs, and foreign affairs) should be actively involved. The necessity of an active climate policy should be well communicated to the public at large by highlighting concrete consequences of (in)action. Government should also facilitate and build proactive coalitions within the EU and other supranational fora in order to create leverage. Finally, government should make its international financial support to developing and transition countries contingent on the recipients? climate performance. By Frank Wijen and Kees Zoeteman.


By GLOBUS Institute for Globalization and Sustainble Development, Netherlands.

Environment Policy Resource.