Developed country parties have committed themselves to collectively reduce emissions of the six key greenhouse gases by approximately 5% from the 1990 levels by 2012.
The process of determining each country's target was not based on scientific or economic measures, but represented in part what individual countries were prepared to "offer up".
The European Union established its own "bubble" within its membership and volunteered an overall 8% reduction target. Within the EU bubble target range; Ireland increases 13%, Austria -13%, Belgium - 7.5, Denmark -21, Finland 0, France 0, Germany -21, Greece + 25, Italy -6.5, Luxembourg -28, Netherlands -6, Portugal +27, Spain +15, Sweden +4, UK -12.5%.
The US accepted -7%, Canada, Hungary, Japan and Poland agreed on -6% and Russia, Ukraine and New Zealand accepted stabilisation, i.e 0%. As a result of special pleadings, Norway is allowed to increase its emissions by 1%, Australia by 8% and Iceland by 10%.
Each country faces significantly different emission abatement costs. Early economic studies (ABARE research report 99.6, Economic Impacts of the Kyoto Protocol - Accounting for the three major gases, 1999) identify New Zealand (and Australia and Japan) as having high abatement costs. One main reason is the wide range of low-cost emission -reduction opportunities available to a number of developed countries. The UK for example, achieved most of its target through the shift in the 1990's from subsidised coal fired electricity generation to lower cost gas. Germany achieved substantial reductions through the closure of old, inefficient formerly East German industry.
The US and Australia subsequently pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol on the grounds that to meet the emission reduction targets would harm their economies and cost jobs. Canada has recently stated that it will be unable to meet its Kyoto Protocol target and while not yet pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol has stated it is interested in other options.
The US, Australia, Japan, China,