Cutting CO2 emissions

At least 60% of climate change can be attributed to CO2 emissions resulting from human activities - mostly the burning of fossil fuels, which contributes 6 billion tons of carbon emissions annually.

Just to contain CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere to their current levels would require a reduction in global emissions of more than 40%.

As 85% of the energy necessary to run our societies comes from fossil fuels, a reduction in emissions of this order would involve politically unacceptable cuts in our energy consumption.

In short, the efforts necessary to stabilize the concentrations of greenhouse gases are not consistent with our current vision of development based on a steady increase in global consumption.

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol, agreed upon in 1997, was a significant step in tackling climate change, providing agreed legally binding targets for the first time.

As an initial stage, industrialized countries were to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to an average of 5.2% lower than their 1990 levels.

However, to make the Protocol enforceable, it had to be ratified by enough industrialized countries to account for at least 55% of global CO emissions. The United States, which accounts for 36.1%, refused to sign and later withdrew from the treaty altogether. It was only when Russia, responsible for 17.4%, became the 141st party to the Protocol, that the way was clear for it to come into force on February 16, 2005.
The burning of fossil fuels contributes 6 billion tons of carbon emissions a year.



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