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Should the U.S. ratify it? Daniela Sol 21 Oct. 2005 PROTOCOL.

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Presentation on theme: "Should the U.S. ratify it? Daniela Sol 21 Oct. 2005 PROTOCOL."— Presentation transcript:

1 Should the U.S. ratify it? Daniela Sol 21 Oct. 2005 PROTOCOL

2 What is global warming and the greenhouse effect? 1. Energy from the Sun heats the Earth's surface 2. The Earth's surface re-radiates this heat back into space but not all of it is able to pass through the atmosphere 3. Some of this energy is absorbed by substances in the atmosphere, including water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone 4. As a result, the temperature of the atmosphere is higher than it would be without these substances *Naturally occurring, this keeps the planet warm and us alive, but when these concentrations increase due to human activity it promotes global warming and climate changes: rising sea levels; changes in precipitation; extreme floods, droughts, heat waves, and hurricanes; changes in agricultural yields, contribute to biological extinctions *Temperatures may increase by 2.5 to 10.5 °F between 1990 and 2100



5 What is the treaty designed to accomplish and how? *The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in Japan in December 1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005. Part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it is an international treaty intended to bring countries together to reduce global warming. The goal is to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2012. This target represents a 29% cut. Provisions of the Kyoto Protocol are legally binding on the ratifying countries that agree to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, HFCs and PFCs. Countries are allowed to use emissions trading to meet their obligations if they maintain/ increase their greenhouse gas emissions. This means that nations that can easily meet their targets can sell credits to those that cannot. A combination of several strategies: - place restrictions on biggest polluters - manage transportation to reduce emissions - make better use of renewable energy sources like solar power, wind power… *Some 141 countries, accounting for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified the treaty

6 Position of the United States The United States releases more greenhouse gases than any other nation and accounts for more than 25% of those generated by humans worldwide The U.S. is only symbolic signer of the protocol because it has not ratified it Bush says the Kyoto Protocol does not require developing countries to commit to emissions reductions, and implementing it would damage the U.S. economy - China and India are potential major polluters because of their huge populations and growing economies, but they don’t have to commit to specific targets - would cost the U.S. economy $400 billion and almost 5 million jobs * Instead, Bush proposed a plan with incentives for U.S. businesses to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. But the plan would actually result in a 30% increase in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 level— the Bush plan measures the reduction against current emissions rather than the 1990 level used by the Kyoto Protocol. U.S. emissions are growing at the rate of about 1.5% a year. By itself, the growth rate is expected to drop to about 1.3% by 2012 as industries adopt newer and cleaner technology. Bush aims to decrease the growth rate to about 1.2%

7 What are the treaty’s strengths and weaknesses? Advocates say: There is a significant warming trend -Scientists agree that even a small increase in the average global temperature would lead to significant climate changes, and profoundly affect all life on Earth * reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an essential step for stopping global warming, but immediate multinational collaboration is needed Because the United States accounts for so much of the problem of global warming, some experts say that the Kyoto Protocol cannot succeed without its participation. Critics say: Kyoto Protocol doesn’t go far enough to reduce greenhouse gases, and also question the effectiveness of planting forests to produce emissions trading credits that many nations are relying on. Planting forests may actually increase carbon dioxide for the first 10 years because of forest growth patterns and the release of carbon dioxide from soil. if industrialized nations reduce their need for fossil fuels, costs will go down, making them more affordable for developing nations. This would shift the source of the emissions, not reduce them. the protocol does not consider population growth and other issues that affect global warming

8 Should the U.S. sign it? How effective and necessary are ENFORCED policies when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions? Consider if Kyoto targets have been achieved: * Industrialized countries cut their overall emissions by 3% from 1990 to 2000. But this was largely because a sharp decrease in emissions from the collapsing economies of former Soviet countries masked an 8% rise among rich countries. * Only four EU countries are on track to meeting their targets. UN says industrialized countries are off target and predicts emissions 10% above 1990 levels by 2010. *There is strong grass-roots support for Kyoto Protocol in the U.S. *Hard to say whether U.S. should ratify: The Kyoto Protocol will go forward without the U.S., and the U.S. will continue to seek alternatives. Whether these alternatives will be more or less effective than Kyoto may not be known until it’s too late *ASEAN (Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate) - On July 2005 the U.S., Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and China agreed to collaborate on strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the century. These nations account for 50% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and population. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, ASEAN allows countries to set their own goals, but WITHOUT ENFORCEMENT

9 Thank you! Sources

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