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The situation of the United States concerning the Kyoto Protocol

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  1. Introduction
  2. Part 1: Presentation of the Kyoto Protocol
    1. The reasons for the fight against the greenhouse effect: definition and consequences
    2. Its history and origin
    3. Its entry into force
    4. Kyoto: Sanctions for offenders?
  3. Part 2: The role of the United States in the post-Kyoto Protocol
    1. The position of the United States and its consequences
    2. The reasons for the non-ratification
  4. Part 3: Alternative U.S. protocol
    1. Government Project
    2. Awareness and initiatives
  5. Conclusion


Understanding and predicting climate issues have become important because of disturbances caused by human activities and population pressure and economic development.

The scientists were the first to draw the attention of policymakers on the risk of climate change linked to emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols. The most recent studies confirm that most of the warming observed over the last fifty years is attributed to human activities.

Based on this observation, the world's states have adopted the Kyoto Protocol. This international agreement aims at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) of different countries: the protocol set a global goal for reducing greenhouse gases for all industrialized countries (almost exclusively the OECD member countries) at 5.2% less than in 1990.

The Kyoto Protocol, which marks the first step in the fight against global warming was signed in Kyoto in 1997 and it entered into force on February 16, 2005: 34 industrial countries, which represent 56% of global CO2 emissions, pledged to reduce their pollution between 1990 and 2012.

Unfortunately the United States, the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, has ratified the protocol arguing that its application would penalize the US economy over one hand and, on the other hand, this protocol did not include not developed countries like China, the reduction was not fair.

The US refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol has been interpreted by Europeans as a general disinterest on the fight against global warming. What is it really?

Our presentation will attempt to answer the question: "What is the situation of the United States today in the post-Kyoto Protocol situation?"

In the first part, we present the Kyoto Protocol by highlighting the reasons for the fight against the greenhouse effect, its definition and consequences, its history and its origin and its entry into force.
In the second step, we discuss the role of the United States with respect to the protocol, based on the reasons for the non-ratification and the impact they had on the decisions of other countries.

And finally, we discuss the various solutions proposed by the United States to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.

The aim of the Kyoto Protocol is to fight against climate change with international actions to reduce emissions of some GHGs (greenhouse gases). This protocol was adopted on 11 December, 1997 and ratified on 31 May, 2002 by the European Community.

The Kyoto Protocol is meant for the global awareness of the importance of the fight against global warming.

The Kyoto conference on global warming had brought together one hundred fifty-nine countries from 1 to 10 December 1997 and reached agreement on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon whereby the earth's atmosphere traps heat emitted by the planet which is in turn warmed by the sun: the average temperature of the earth results from the balance between two streams:
- The radiation that arrives from the sun
- The infrared radiation back to space

Tags: Kyoto Protocol, reducing greenhouse gases, greenhouse effect

[...] Part The role of the United States in the post-Kyoto Protocol The position of the United States and its consequences Under Bill Clinton, the US pledged to sign the Kyoto Protocol, but the Senate opposed it. Before ratifying the protocol, the Senate wanted an assurance that the reduction commitments could be held without limitations by using the market mechanism and demanding that major developing countries like India and China pledge to also limit their emissions. Then, the election of George W. [...]


[...] The situation in 2002, the main countries in relation to Kyoto targets (Source: International Energy Agency) Country Developments in Commitments Change% B.CO2 emissions related to energy consumption of major countries in 2002 (Source: International Energy Agency) billion tonnes tonnes The United States promised to reduce by 2012 its emissions of greenhouse gases by compared to 1990. But it has actually increased by over 10% between 1990 and 2000. Moreover, it is the biggest polluter in the world: it represents of the population and ejects 25% of global emissions: 19.7 tons of CO2 are emitted annually per capita, compared to 8.4 in Europe. [...]


[...] The highly publicized withdrawal of the United States from the Kyoto Protocol, against the will of a hundred countries, has not helped to enhance the green image of the United States. The issue of future environmental policy of the United States does not arise in political terms: it arises also in social terms. The transition to a strong environmental policy cannot be done without massive pressure from American civil society. It remains to be seen whether it will ever be a match for industry lobbyists. [...]

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