Kyoto protocol set ambitious goals for countries but couldn’t meet them. Reasons for the failure of Kyoto protocol are as follows:
- Though Kyoto was legal, it didn’t have provision of enforcing penalties, as a result developed countries failed to meet the target and also got away with that.
- Developing countries criticized this protocol from the beginning and they argued against fixing 1990 as the baseline as it would virtually absolve the developed nations of their historic responsibilities.
- It also allowed developing countries to pollute unchecked, there should have been some mechanism for check on greenhouse gases in developing countries as well. The share of industrialized countries has come down from 70% to 43%.
- The protocol failed to achieve the targets it set. The GHG emissions have increased by about 17%. In its second proposed phase, many countries like Japan are reluctant to re-join and non-participation of the biggest polluters like USA has further jeopardized it.
- Many dubious projects like Gas Based Powerplant were also brought under it which were no less polluting.
- The protocol also raised ethical issues as developed countries were allowed to pollute by paying a small price for it. Most of the CDM projects – 80% – are gobbled up by India and China leaving lesser developed countries dry of benefits of this protocol.
- Projects developed under CDM had dubious evaluation in terms of additionality clause and many existing projects which would have come otherwise also were also certified under CDM.
- Its overemphasis on CDM and carbon trading shifted the focus from core objective of ecological conservation and it became a CDM protocol rather than an ecological protocol.
However, success of the protocol lies in the fact that there was an estimated 1 billion tonnes of emission reduction overall till 2012 when the commitment period ended. There was more than $20 billion invested in developing countries as a part of CDM and there was significant technology transfer as well.