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Backgrounder: Kyoto Protocol and Bali Road Map

2009-12-07 13:31 BJT

Special Report: UN climate change conference in Copenhagen |


One of the expected outcomes of the Copenhagen summit is an agreement to find a legally-binding deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol is a workable first step in global efforts to coordinate economic wealth and ecological concerns. Its greatest value is symbolic — the world, as one, joining hands to live up to the responsibility for humanity's present and future.

It's now more than ten years since the treaty was agreed in the ancient Japanese capital, Kyoto.

It binds industrialized countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5 percent from their 1990 level by 2012.

But America's refusal to sign up limits the treaty's impact.

The US is the world leader in "greenhouse gas" emissions, accounting for 36 percent of carbon emissions among industrialized countries.

In 2001, the Bush administration refused to ratify Kyoto, citing potential damage to the US economy.

George W. Bush, US President, said, "What we are going to do is to combine our energy strategy with environmental strategy, so that we could reduce gas emissions, at the same time allow our economy to grow."

But scientists say the majority of emissions have come from rich countries since the Industrial Revolution.

America and Europe have produced nearly three-fourths of the carbon dioxide from energy production since 1850.

Behind the rhetoric on climate change is the bargaining in national interests and a struggle of political powers.

Analysts say the main thrust is to create a common formula that encompasses both developing nations and industrialized nations.

In 2007, the UN Climate Change Conference adopted the Bali Road Map.

Yvo De Boer, UN Framework Covention on Climate Change, said, "Public expectations for Bali to provide answers are big. The eyes of the world are upon you. There is huge responsibility for Bali to deliver."

The main goal at Bali was to get negotiations moving on a new international climate change agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

The road map charts a two-year process to finalizing a binding agreement in 2009.

Global warming is a problem that will spare no country.

What needs to be done now is to improve the chances of our way of life for generations to come.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: