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International Efforts to Prevent Climate Change

Kyoto Climate Treaty

At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the United States and 170 nations agreed on reducing greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2000. This was one of the first efforts at international consensus to consider the global effects of greenhouse gases. President George H. W. Bush attended the meeting.

Effort

The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in 1997 with U.S. Vice President Al Gore in attendance; he was able to move negotiators and achieve a consensus treaty. Three disagreements were the binding amount of greenhouse gas reductions and the gases involved, whether developing countries should be included in the requirements for GHG reductions, and whether to include emissions trading and joint implementation (which allows credit to be given for emissions reductions to a country that provides funding or investments in countries that bring about the actual reductions).

The Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed on December 11, 1997. The goal for the United States was to lower CO2 by 7% below 1990 levels by the period 2008–2012. Canada, Japan, and Poland agreed to 6%, and the European Union had an 8% reduction. Thirty-eight nations had reductions (average 5.2%), and developing nations only had to set voluntary limits

Concluding remarks

The only other Western country to not sign the treaty was Australia, but that country had a change of government and immediately signed it, leaving the United States alone. The United States would have to reduce carbon emissions by 550 million tons below the reference value with allowance for reforestation accounting for only 9% of this

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