The Kyoto Protocol is considered a necessary first step toward an effective future climate accord. As argued in this paper, however, the protocol will likely fail because it has too many loopholes, inadequate governance structures, and insufficient compliance provisions. This view is supported by case studies of Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands. These countries are unlikely to achieve their self-imposed targets, or, if they do, the costs of compliance will be unacceptably high. Consequently, the difficulty of achieving agreement to reduce global emissions by half (as required to mitigate climate change) is greatly increased.