Kyoto Protocol

An amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the result of negotiations at the third Conference of the Parties (COP-3) in Kyoto, Japan, in December of 1997. The Kyoto Protocol sets binding greenhouse gas emissions targets for carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).
Annex 1 (developed) countries that sign and ratify the Protocol agree to reduce emissions of the named gasses by at least five percent below 1990 levels for the 2008 to 2012 commitment period. Annex 2 (developing) countries (such as China and India) are not required to reduce emissions at all.
Non ratification of the Kyoto Protocol has become a political/economic/social issue in the United States. The U.S. government’s position is, in part, that exempting developing countries that have large and fast growing greenhouse gas emissions (China is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases) would put the U.S. at an economic disadvantage. (Note that the U.S. Senate has the power to ratify the Protocol, not the president.).

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