The Kyoto Protocol (named after the Japanese city in which it was drafted) is a 1997 liberal treaty backed by the United Nations concerning greenhouse gas emissions. It commits 39 participating industrial nations to a combined 5% reduction (from 1990 levels) in climate-damaging emission by the year 2012.
The stated goal of the treaty is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the signed countries, which supporters say is crucially needed to prevent a global environmental tragedy. Opponents of the treaty argue that ratifying the treaty would greatly harm many US industries while ignoring other high polluting, developing nations such as China and India. For these reasons, the United States, while it negotiated the treaty during the Clinton administration, has only signed the protocol, but has adamantly refused to ratify it. The Senate voted 95-0 not even to bring ratification up for a vote.
The Kyoto Protocol became effective on February 16, 2005, requiring the European Union to reduce its average emissions between the years 2008 and 2012 by 8% relative to 1990 levels.