Today Canada was the first to leave the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was discussed in Kyoto, Japan in 1997 and officially brought into force in early 2005. The Kyoto Protocol came to be in order to regulate each nation’s greenhouse gas emissions at the Framework Convention for Climate Change. It sets a maximum limit for greenhouse gases to 37 industrialized nations and the European nations.
The nation of Canada backed out of the agreement for a good reason: if they were to remain a part of the contract they would be spending about $14 billion to the other countries. If they wanted to somehow meet their level they would have to take almost every vehicle off the roads according to the environment minister Peter Kent. While reading through CNN.com, this article immediately reminded me of Hobbes Leviathan and his discussion of the covenant and the contract.
Hobbes discussed in Leviathan Chapter 13 about the ideas of a covenant and contract. A contract is defined as, “the mutual transferring of right,” while he defines a covenant as, “Again, one of the contractors, may deliver the thing contracted for on his part, and leave the other to perform his part at some determinate time after, and in the mean time be trusted.” These are definitions given by Hobbes and they are basically the same for how a dictionary would define the terms. Although many nations signed the Kyoto Protocol, Canada also signed it, so why should they be allowed to just relinquish all the responsibilities that came with signing it? The Kyoto Protocol will be extended in 2015 and with this agreement comes legally binding consequences. Is the current Kyoto Protocol a covenant and the extended Protocol a contract?
Hobbes also discussed in Leviathan Chapter 13 the Laws of Nature. The second and third Laws of Nature both dealt with the ideas of covenants. The second law of nature states that covenants are needed for peace and the third law of nature states that you should perform covenants made. The Kyoto Protocol is an agreement among the 191 different nations that signed it, but they should have performed the covenant made between the nations. It is the first of any of the countries to quit the pact, and it is possible that many more will do so. In order to keep the world green and emitting a smaller amount of carbon, the Kyoto Protocol must stay intact. Now that Canada has left the pact and is not performing the pact, what is keeping the peace?