The Kyoto Protocol Essay

626 words - 3 pages

A majority of scientists agree that global warming, caused by higher levels of gases that trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, could lead to catastrophic consequences. Among them: flooding of low-lying areas; droughts and more severe weather that could cause food shortages; and the displacement of millions of people. When governments adopted the Convention, they knew that its commitments would not be sufficient to achieve its ultimate objective. They therefore included a series of review mechanisms in the Convention to ensure that its commitments could be tightened in the future. The first review mechanism kicked in at the first session of the Conference of the Parties, held in Berlin in March/April 1995, where, in a decision known as the "Berlin Mandate", Parties agreed that the specific commitments in the Convention for Annex I Parties were not adequate. Thus, they launched a new round of talks to decide on stronger and more ...view middle of the document...

The Protocol establishes three innovative "mechanisms", known as joint implementation, emissions trading and the clean development mechanism, which are designed to help Annex I Parties reduce the costs of meeting their emission targets by achieving or acquiring reductions more cheaply in other countries than at home. The clean development mechanism also aims to assist developing countries in achieving sustainable development by promoting environmentally-friendly investment in their economies from industrialized country governments and businesses.With the same point of view, the bipartisan bill was introduced in a U.S. Senate hearing on January 8, 2003 by Senators Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican. The bill would apply to emissions from the electricity generation, petroleum refining, industrial and commercial economic sectors, which together account for 85 percent of overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It would apply to all entities that emit more than 10,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases per year. The bill is a market-based system that allows companies and national governments to trade emissions credits, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting costs and improving the environment.Because greenhouse gases build up incrementally in the atmosphere, stabilizing their concentrations will require very significant reductions in emissions over the next century. By achieving greater reductions sooner, the bill would make it as much easier for future generations to achieve the reduction needed to solve the climate problem on a long-term basis. The result is that participants in the market, whether they are subject to reduction mandates or simply seeking to make incremental reductions, can reach across the nation for the most productive greenhouse gas emissions reduction opportunity. I agree that the bill should be motivated so that U.S. can retain the option of rejoining the global community in the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, I believe that the broader and more dynamic a global emissions reduction market is, the greater will be its success in reducing cost and delivering enhanced environmental performance along with technological innovation.

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