Information : Q & A: The Kyoto ProtocolArticles, Poems & Information > Q & A: The Kyoto Protocol
Author: Denise Tansley
Q. What Is the Kyoto Agreement?
A. The Kyoto Agreement was set up in response to address the problem of Global warming and to reduce greenhouse emissions caused mainly by fossil fuels.
Q. When was the Kyoto Agreement signed?
A. The Kyoto Agreement began in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. World leaders were concerned about a major catastrophe caused by global warming. It was set up in accordance with the principles of the United Nations and a treaty was signed in Kyoto in Japan. In 1996 in Geneva, a Ministerial Declaration of 130 countries, including Japan, agreed that emissions needed to be cut. The Kyoto Agreement was ratified on 11th December 1997. Now Japan is backtracking on this agreement.
Q. Scientists believe that global warming is a natural occurrence so what's the problem?
A. In a way yes, the Earth does heat up during certain cycles and because these cycles take many thousands of years we have only witnessed this one, but and this is a big but, with the destruction of the rainforests which act as vacuums sucking up the carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen we have no where for these emissions to go apart from in the air around the Earth and with no where to go the gases are building up causing all sorts of problems not least being diseases, breathing problems, crops unable to grow because of pollution and too much heat and in the meantime the Earth is heating up every second causing the polar ice caps to melt. Complete disaster. So we can either wait and see if the scientists are correct or we can tell our children how we saved the Earth from becoming extinct from humans, plants and animals, of course life would go on but it would all start from a microbe again.
Q. Who needs to sign the Agreement?
A. All nations including developing countries, need to address the problem of greenhouse emissions.
Q. Who is not signing the Agreement?
A. So far the countries that are not signing are the USA, Australia, China, India and a few other nations. The USA is responsible for over 24% of greenhouse gases, but only 4.6% of the population. The Bush Administration pledged during their campaign that they would address the problems of greenhouse gases but as usual it is all talk and he is opposing the agreement, stating in a letter that it would damage the US economy. For information on the letter please visit WWF International. Japan on the other hand want the protocol changed so that industrialised countries only make extremely marginal reductions in their emissions this being as late as 2008-2012, info from WWF International Australia was accused of trying to sabotage the agreement by arguing over the wording of the agreement, trying to remove rules and penalties.
Info source : Australian Broadcasting Corporation News
Q. Is the Kyoto Agreement a good idea?
A. In theory Yes. It is a good idea that global warming is finally being addressed by the leaders of the worlds richest nations, but with so much talking behind closed doors on the outside the world still goes on and time is running out. There needs to be pressure put on the countries that are refusing to sign the agreement and more needs to be done, sadly it is not top of everyone's list of priorities, nuclear weapons, national defence and the space race seem to be more important. The sad fact is that they won't be able to play these games if we have no world left.
Further information on the progress of the Kyoto Agreement please visit Greenpeace's Climate Section
Document last updated on Tuesday 30 August 2011
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