Citizenship Unit 3A Case Studies

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Kyoto Protocol 1997

In 1997, world leaders met in Kyoto, Japan, to discuss how to reduce the global greenhouse gas emissions. They agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% below the 1990 levels by 2008-2012. 

Many scientists have argued that the targets were not strict enough, and we should cut the greenhouse gas emissions by 60%.

The US failed to sign the Kyoto Protocol. The president (George Bush) believed that:

  • The Protocol would gravely damage the US economy 
  • His administration dubbed the treaty as fatally flawed. Developing countries did not have to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. China and India are developing countries, and also two countries that are two of the world's largest producers of greenhouse gases. 
  • Bush said supported emissions reductions through voluntary action and new energy technologies. 
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Copenhagen 2009 & Cancun 2010

Copenhagen 2009

115 world leaders met in Copenhagen,the capital of Denmark, in 2009. The leaders failed to agree to specific targets but agreed that they would try to prevent the global temperature increasing by more than 2%. 

Cancun 2010

The Cancun meeting was more successful than the Copenhagen meeting. Developed and developing countries agreed to cut emissions but there were no legally binding targets set. A new Climate Aid Fund was set up for developed countries to donate money to developing countries adapt to the challenges of climate change. A decision was not made about whether to renew the Kyoto Protocol when it 'runs out' in 2012. 

Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013

Little progress was made to extend the targets. Some countries (e.g. Japan and Australia) said they will stop wotking towards their targets. There are plans for a new target agreement in Paris 2015. Developing countries are requesting more finance for the Climate Aid Fund.

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