Shop Windows to the Universe

We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.

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.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Effects of Climate Change Today

Over 100 years ago, people worldwide began burning more coal and oil for homes, factories, and transportation. Burning these fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere....more

Earth's Greenhouse Gases

Even though only a tiny amount of the gases in Earth’s atmosphere are greenhouse gases, they have a huge effect on climate. There are several different types of greenhouse gases. The major ones are carbon...more

Eclipse of the Moon in October 2004

There will be an eclipse of the Moon on Wednesday night, October 27, 2004 (or during the wee hours of the morning on the 28th if you are in Europe or Africa). This eclipse is a total eclipse of the Moon,...more

A Perfect Place for Penguins!

Scientists have recently discovered that thousands of Adelie Penguins thrive in patches of the chilly Southern Ocean near Antarctica's coastline. In these special areas of the ocean, called polynyas,...more

Triggers of Volcanic Eruptions in Oregon's Mount Hood Investigated

Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more

Oldest Earth Mantle Reservoir Discovered

The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more

It’s Not Your Fault – A Typical Fault, Geologically Speaking, That Is

Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF