The Kyoto Protocol Essay Research Paper While

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The Kyoto Protocol Essay, Research Paper While the issues of global warming and the Kyoto Protocol are not exclusively Asia-Pacific topics, this essay will discuss the importance of Australia?s role, along with the United States, in undermining this treaty. To a lesser degree, the roles of India and China will also be examined. Particular emphasis will also be placed on the economic, environmental and political aspects involved in the topic. Statistical data will also be offered to support this analysis. The Framework Convention on Climate Change, instigated by the United Nations, was held in Kyoto, Japan in December 1997. More than 2,200 delegates from 161 nations took part in this summit to help forge an international treaty now known as the Kyoto Protocol. We can see from

the map provided that the major stakeholders examined in this essay encompass the entire Asia-Pacific region. The objective of the Kyoto climate-change conference was to establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby, all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GGE?s). The target agreed upon at the summit was an average reduction of 5.2% on 1990 levels by the year 2012. Table A, at the end of this essay, details the negotiated targets for each Annex 1 nation. At the close of negotiations, Luxembourg?s Environment Minister Johnny Lahure, was jubilant when he announced, ?Today there are no losers and only one winner, the environment.? However, it is difficult to understand his enthusiasm.

In reality, it would take an immediate reduction of at least 60% to make an impact on the greenhouse gases that have been accumulating in the atmosphere since the onset of the industrial revolution. Given this, even if it is ratified, the Kyoto Protocol will achieve little for the environment. Now, thanks entirely to the United States and Australia, ratification of the treaty may never eventuate. Australia and the US arrived at the talks as hostile participants with entrenched positions. Central to US obstinance was the lack of participation from China and India. Although major polluters themselves, because they are developing countries, the Kyoto accord does not require them to reduce their emissions at all. The Americans advocated an ?all in? policy. That is, both developed and

under-developed nations should be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comply with the treaty. As it stands now, China and India can increase their emissions ? they are not bound by the treaty. Consequently, the US objected. However, it would appear this American argument is a spurious one. The United States is the world?s most industrialised nation and as such is responsible for a staggering 25% of global GGE?s. As the world?s biggest polluter, couldn?t it be argued that they have a moral obligation to lead by example? As developing nations, in particular China and India, become more industrialised, they will require guidance and leadership in establishing clean renewable energy resources. However, if the world?s largest polluter isn?t interested in taking measures to

curb the effects of global warming, it is unlikely that they will. Then in March 2001, the new Bush Administration politically dumped the Kyoto Protocol, finally ending speculation on the US position. ?[President] Bush has no interest in pursuing the Kyoto Protocol?, declared the US Environment Protection Agency chief, Christine Whitman. Within a few weeks, Australia also showed their desire to jump ship. Australia?s Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill said, ?We?ve always said we wouldn?t ratify [the Kyoto Protocol] ahead of the US?. In essence, it?s a case of if they don?t ? we won?t. However, one can?t help but feel that the US retreat simply gave the Australian Government a convenient excuse to pull out. The Kyoto accord was a low priority for the Howard