The Kyoto Protocol Essay

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This paper examines the Kyoto Protocol and the United States position on their participation in the Kyoto Protocol. To understand the underpinnings of the Kyoto Protocol one must agree that our planet is warming, and we (its citizens) are contributing to its warming. Any general argument about global warming has to address at least the following five questions: 1. Is global warming really occurring? 2. If global warming is occurring, are humans responsible for it? 3. If global warming is occurring, what will the consequences be for life on earth? 4. If human action is contributing to global warming and the consequences are likely to be negative, what can be done and what are the social, political and economic consequences of…show more content…
The Kyoto agreement, approved by 178 countries, but not by the U.S., at the United Nations convention in Bonn, call for industrial nations to reduce their emissions to 5.2% below 1990 levels ("U.S.’s Kyoto advantage may not last--long-term, American business could be less energy-efficient than rivals", 2001). While the Kyoto calls for signatory countries to revert to 1990 emission levels by 2012, and that at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions sign the treaty before it can be legally effective (Hathaway-Zepeda, 2004). To make the Kyoto Protocol acceptable for richer countries two concession were made: 1. Carbon sinks (such as forests) as well as sources of greenhouse gases would be counted toward meeting a country’s obligations. 2. Countries would be allowed to trade their emissions targets, so that the rich countries could buy credits from other countries in order to emit more than their allotment. (Gardiner, 2004, p. 24). Some critics of the protocol indicate that Kyoto has the potential of “ rolling back the industrial revolution and outlawing the internal combustion engine”…the protocol sets the stage for countries like Japan and Germany for massive re-engineering of their heavy industry and transportation systems (Winestock, 2001). United States Position President Clinton

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