The Kyoto Protocol is a worldwide treaty, in effect since 2004, binding signatory countries to lower greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit possible impacts on global warming. The only problem is that few signatory nations are actually lowering their emissions. Consider that between 2001 and 2004, the European Union's emissions went up 3.6 percent, while in the United States (a non-signatory nation) emissions fell.
Most now understand that Kyoto has failed and the reason is plain: in order to meet Kyoto emission targets, countries must slash energy use, which would dramatically slow economic growth, and no country is willing to compromise prosperity for the theoretical possibility that lower emissions might reverse global warming. In August 2005, the U.S. announced it is joining an agreement called the Asia-Pacific partnership on Clean Development and Climate, with China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The new agreement offers a promising alternative approach to address climate change "within a paradigm of economic development."
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