The Kyoto Protocol Is in Effect! Around the World, 141 Countries Are Taking the First Steps to Decrease Greenhouse Gases!
News story originally written on February 16, 2005

Countries from around the world have agreed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they release into Earth's atmosphere. This will help slow the speed of global warming. As of February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol, which states this agreement between nations, is in effect!

Over the past 150 years, humans have caused an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. One large reason for the increase is because burning fossil fuels releases them into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat in our atmosphere. So, having more of them causes the planet to warm.

One hundred and forty-one counties have signed to the Kyoto Protocol. By signing, countries agree to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere. Overall, countries that have agreed to the Protocol will reduce emissions by 5.2% within the next seven years. That may not seem like much of a drop, but it will be a challenge for many countries where the amount of greenhouse gases released has been increasing each year.

Not all countries of the world signed the Kyoto Protocol. The countries that did sign it together account for 55% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. However, the country that emits the most greenhouse gases, the United States, did not agreed to sign the Kyoto Protocol. In 2001, United States President George W. Bush decided that the US would not participate. Large developing countries such as India, China, and Brazil are not required to make changes either.

The Kyoto Protocol will not cause enough change to stop global warming caused by increased amounts of greenhouses gases, but it is a good first step. According to Klaus Toepfer, head of the United Nations Environment Program, more hard work needs to be done to fight global warming and its possible effects on the world's climate.

Last modified February 16, 2005 by Lisa Gardiner.

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