Global Warming: The Kyoto Protocol

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The Kyoto Protocol is a product of the third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This conference took place in Kyoto, Japan, and the agreement was first signed on December 11, 1997. Since then, a large number of countries have agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

One notable exception is the United States, which has signed but not ratified. That signature but lack of ratification means that the U.S. agrees in principle to the goal of the Protocol but doesn't find it necessary to adhere to its standards.

The countries that have ratified the Protocol have agreed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to 5 percent below the 1990 levels by the year 2012. Given that those levels have certainly gone up since 1990, that's a significant drop in emissions for many countries.

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