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Kyoto Protocol Advantages and Limitations

The Kyoto Protocol: Advantages and Limitations The advent of industrialized civilization has brought to us many remarkable feats that enhance our everyday lives. Such things as automobiles, airplanes, tractors, mainframe computers, and even relatively simple machines like lawnmowers have intertwined themselves into the everyday culture of modern day industrialized countries.. These products have provided us enormous benefits compared to the types of lives our ancestors used to live. In the eyes of some, the consequences of industrial activities that have evolved around the world will not pose any problems in the future, however as most have realized, this is not true. Contemporary production processes use fossil fuels such as oil, which release dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. In addition, certain products such as vehicles are notorious for their inefficient combustion cycles that also release comparable amounts of certain greenhouse gases into the air. Moreover, emissions from agricultural practices, land use change and forestry, and other industrial activities have led to dramatic increases in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases since pre-industrial times. (Fig. 1) The world was quick to act upon this realization by negotiating the Kyoto Protocol in December of 1997, the result of a process that began by a United Nations led conference in the early 90’s. Since then, the debate for ratification among the negotiating countries has been ongoing, for the simple fact that this policy has many advantages along with a reasonable amount of disadvantages.
The protocol itself calls for the thirty-eight industrialized countries to reduce their emission of six major greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent, from levels recorded in 1990, during the 2008-2012 period. These six gases include carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC’s...

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