The Importance Of The Kyoto Protocol

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The United States is the second largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world (15). As scientists have been monitoring carbon dioxide levels and watching them rise, global climate change is potentially becoming a larger problem. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement that was formed in 1997 to reduce the amount of carbon emissions globally. It is an important achievement in the international community because it is the only international agreement that sets legally binding carbon limits on the countries that participate (2). While the United States is a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, it was never ratified by the Senate. The United States opted not to participate in the Kyoto Protocol, much to the disappointment of the global community. A Brazilian writer says that the Kyoto Protocol is “nothing more than a piece of paper" without the United States taking the lead (3). Which shows just how much the rest of the global community looks to the United States for leadership. As a major economic power, the United States should ratify the Kyoto Protocol in order to help remediate the rising harmful carbon emissions, or to at least set an example for other countries. Global climate change is a natural cycle that occurs on Earth. Within the last 650,000 years, it has been recorded that there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat. The ending of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marked the beginning of the modern climate era (20). It is a natural cycle that occurs on Earth, but the presence of humans have sped up the process. This is important today because this phenomenon will affect the future generations. Global climate change is being exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels, which is releasing carbon... ... middle of paper ... ...countries have already ratified the Kyoto Protocol. The United States should ratify it too if there are plans in place to reduce carbon emissions anyway. By early 2010, 83 countries had adopted some sort of policy to promote renewable energy power generation, which was a major increase from an estimated forty-eight countries in mid-2005 (2). More than 190 nations have now committed to the Kyoto Protocol. This includes Germany, Britain, France, China, and Russia which leaves the United States as the only major economic power that has not ratified it (9). Some countries that signed on to the first commitment period later decided to withdraw from the second commitment period but to continue reducing carbon emissions in their own programs. As of December 2011, Canada, Japan, and Russia, had decided not to commit to the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2).
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