The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty which extends the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) it is extremely likely that human-made CO2emissions have predominantly caused it. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in Kyoto, Japan on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 2005. There are currently 192 parties (Canada withdrew from the protocol, effective December 2012) to the Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol implemented the objective of the UNFCCC to reduce the onset of global warming by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to "a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system" (Article 2). The Kyoto Protocol applies to the six greenhouse gases listed in Annex A: Carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), Nitrous oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).
The Kyoto Protocol is significant because, unlike previous negotiations on climate change, which had only suggested that governments voluntarily reduce their emission of greenhouse gases, it contains concrete mandatory aims for the countries which have signed it.