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The Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change was
negotiated by over 160 countries in December 1997.
The agreement would require 38 industrialized countries to reduce the
emissions of six major greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent during the 20082012 period.
The Kyoto Protocol follows the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate
which established the objective of stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of
greenhouse gases "at a level that would prevent dangerous interference
with the climate system."
United States Never signed
China is not considered and industrialized country
Very few industrialized countries have taken the concrete domestic actions necessary to reach the 2008-2012
target emission levels.
According to US Department of Energy forecasts, carbon emissions in the US are expected to reach 33 percent
above 1990 levels by 2010 in the absence of policy changes that reduce energy use and change consumer
Among the countries that have made binding commitments under the Protocol, only
those of central and eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have emissions
below target levels.
However, these emission decreases are for the most part due to economic decline,
rather than improvements in energy efficiency and the development lower carbon
energy sources
Even with the implementation of this agreement, emission levels in 2010 are
still expected to be more than 30 percent higher than 1990 levels.
The emission cuts by industrialized countries will be more than offset by
emission increases from countries that are not bound by emission
limitations under the Kyoto Protocol, many of which are currently
undergoing rapid economic development.