The Kyoto Protocol was an agreement aimed at seeing all the developed countries cut down their production and emissions of greenhouse gases by about 5.2 percent (Oberthur and Ott, 1999). This paper is a research study that digs deeper in looking at the emissions in the United Kingdom in an attempt to analyze if the national policies put in place would result in the achievement of the treaty’s agreement. There is also a discussion on how the optimal amount of pollution cannot be zero, allocation of resources and pollution, and a discussion of the Kyoto Protocol and tradable emissions which are allowed for the developed countries (Oberthur and Ott, 1999).
Climate Change and Air Pollution
Air pollution and the threat of climate change are among the most important problems facing society today (Jill and Brimblecombe, 2002). In 2005, it was the time when the Kyoto Protocol was passed and became binding towards curbing all forms of air pollution which has been responsible for drastic global warming (Jeroen and Vandenberg, 2002). Although this protocol was aimed at reduction of carbon emissions and other sources of air pollution which had been causing global warming, there has been not much progress and therefore more and more changes in our global climate have continued to be faced each and every day (Jeroen and Vandenberg, 2002). This means that there have been a number of limitations that have come as a result following the Kyoto Protocol of 2005 February (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2002). Last year the Copenhagen Summit in Denmark saw the same issue being debated widely in which no binding agreement was reached by the majority of the nations as more and more nations appeared to feel the impacts of climatic change due to increased global air pollution, which in turn has been causing climatic imbalances and global warming (Jill and Brimblecombe, 2002). The paper examines in depth the major problems of air pollution and as well coming up with an explanation of the rationale and limitations of the policies in combating this problem.
Emissions of Greenhouse Gases
From the statistics in the United Kingdom, it has been noted that there have been reduced emissions of a number of gases like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen compounds, and carbon (Ali, 2007). Emissions of each of these pollutants have been on the decline since in the year 1990 with a very big percentage; the rate of decline has been increasing slowly by slowly as the years go by (Ali, 2007). Since the year 1990, the country has been recording a decrease of about 23 percent in total ammonia emissions, about 46 percent of total nitrogen oxide emissions, and 63 percent of carbon-related gases which are responsible for global warming (Ali, 2007). The statistics on climate change for the country have been showing the required reduction of greenhouse gas and their emissions. UK’s emissions of greenhouse gas are usually recorded so that data can be provided to the country and the international level so that their fight against climate change can be appraised (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2002). This has hence been indicating the progress in the country and its overall commitment towards climatic change. This has been done under the requirements and specifications of the Kyoto Protocol.
Basically, the available data and statistics have been showing the overall progress in the country towards its domestic goals which have entirely been aimed at the overall reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and cutting down carbon dioxide emitted in the country (Power, H et al, 2005). As if that has not been enough, the United Kingdom has been keen in ensuring that it monitors all the greenhouse gases that are emitted as under the Kyoto Protocol, with the inclusion of all other Crown Dependencies across the world since they are part and parcel of the United Kingdom (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2002). The country has been ensuring that all the six gases comprising the greenhouse gases are targeted for emission reductions. These gases are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, hydro-fluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and per-fluorocarbons. Although it might be hard to meet the targets, it would be agreed that the country has been at the forefront towards reducing its overall greenhouse gases being emitted which have been responsible for global warming and climate change. The targets for the Kyoto Protocol are not far from being attained should the country continue putting the appropriate measures in place (Oberthur and Ott, 1999). The data hence indicates that the United Kingdom is likely to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol and under its own self-imposed national targets.
Optimal Amount of Pollution
It would be agreed that the optimal amount of pollution can not be zero (Gardiner and Hugh, 2007). If it were to be zero, it would mean that there is no single pollution taking place. If that is the case, it means that there is no kind of economic activity that is taking place in the world so that the optimal amount can be zero. This has been the major reason why the Kyoto Protocol postulates that the number of emissions should be cut down and not done away with at all (Reynard, 2007). We have to produce something for our own upkeep and well-being (Farmer, 1997). If we do not produce, that is when we have zero value pollution (Gardiner and Hugh, 2007). But since we have to produce as human beings towards economic development and sustenance, it will happen that there would be an amount of pollution that has to be expected (Gardiner and Hugh, 2007).
The main idea should be in ensuring that the optimal amount of pollution has been kept as low as possible, although we very well know that the value can be at zero (Farmer, 1997). From this model, we shall note that different amounts of pollutants shall be produced during activities of production but they cannot be at zero, when they are at zero, the implication would that there is no production and human life would be endangered (Farmer, 1997). The thing here is that the rates of pollution can be kept low as possible by tending it to zero, and not really at zero.
Optimal amount of pollution > 0
Allocation of Resources and Pollution
In some cases, there would be a number of cases whereby governments have to convince the people on how resources have to be allocated. Economic theory suggests there are certain circumstances in which governments do not need to intervene to correct the misallocation of resources associated with pollution (Rees, 1985). For instance, any kind of resource such as coal-burning plants would not be required to be equally distributed in a country since there are a number of other issues that arise as a result of it. This is especially with all kinds of resources that would have continued pollution. This is because it would call for the same government to follow up the allocation process with mitigation procedures which might not be cost-effective for the given country (Rees, 1985). Some of the circumstances would occur when there has been a given threat on the environment by the specific resources which have led to increased pollution. As well, some pollutants produced might be having impacts on the health of the individuals. It would therefore not be necessarily important to push for equity with these types of resources. This might end up damaging the overall plans which have been put in place towards fighting pollution. As well, it would be a good mechanism towards ensuring that no more areas are polluted.
Due to this kind of operation, it should be noted that there is a very big reference. What does this mean? When a given economic resource is in a particular place, and its impacts on the environment are quite diverse, it would be necessary that the appropriate measures are taken in reducing the amounts of pollutants emitted by that resource. However, if it were distributed into other places, it would call for more innovations and materials for mitigating pollution. The argument here is that the pollution caused by the given resource can be addressed from one spot rather than proliferating the production into other areas hence hindering mitigation procedures. This makes it easy for the given nation to fight pollution hence playing a great role in reducing global warming and climatic change.
A key element of the Kyoto Protocol is a system of tradable emissions permits (Farmer, 1997). With this kind of permit, it would see productivity still taking place but with much impact put in reducing the emissions. As we have seen earlier, man has to produce so as to develop in terms of economy, and therefore the Kyoto Protocol gave guidelines in ensuring that the number of emissions is only sensible and does not injure the environment (Mag and Gudrun, 2008). The rationale of the policy is that there would be an overall reduction in emissions which can be satisfactory relevant and effective towards reducing the rates of global warming (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2002). Looking at the Protocol, we shall be able to note that it sets forth towards allocating tradable emissions and specific limits to different numbers of countries. This would see specific greater emitters reducing their emissions to an acceptable level.
The rationale towards concise interpretation is that all the global pollutants being emission cap can reach a given harmony which in the long run shall result in reduced emissions hence be able to reduce changes in the global climatic patterns (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2002). Since we cannot necessarily have a one hundred percent cut on emissions, the policy comes up with a binding agreement through which countries can cut down their emissions to acceptable amounts hence reducing overall emissions. Once a tradable level has been arrived at, all countries would be harmoniously unified hence working together towards bringing the emissions farther down and down. Basically, once specific nations have been given limits for emissions, this would help realize the overall objectives of the treaty which is aimed at reducing overall greenhouse gases emissions from industrialized nations by about 5.2 percent.
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