At least 10 good reasons to boycott the U.S.A. > #9 Global warming and the US
Global warming and the US
The burning of coal, oil and gas, intensive agricultural methods and forest clear-cutting emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere where they trap the sun's heat. This leads to an increase in the mean global temperature of the Earth as well as changes in precipitation patterns. Without urgent action extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms will become more frequent, causing catastrophic social, environmental and economic damage.
Avoiding catastrophic climate change means keeping the temperature increase below 2°C. There will still be significant impacts on ecosystems and many millions of people will be threatened with increased risk of hunger, malaria and flooding and billions with increased risk of water shortage.
Immediate international action must be taken to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, or the world may soon face irreversible global climate damage.
The Kyoto Protocol, the climate treaty finally agreed at Marrakech in November 2001, became a law in February 2005. It demands not only that industrialised countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions during a "first commitment period" by 5.2% until 2012, compared to 1990 levels, but also urges the international community to begin negotiations for a subsequent commitment periods on further steps needed to fight global warming.
A lot more is needed to prevent dangerous climate change, but nevertheless it is the first global treaty to fight global warming and an important foundation to build on. Kyoto now needs to develop and expand rapidly, extending the international emissions trading system and providing more help for developing countries to leapfrog dirty technology.
141 countries have ratified the protocol, including Canada, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia and European Union countries. The EU has been an important supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, negotiating hard to get wavering countries on board.
The prospect of the US staying outside the agreement influenced a number of other countries including Australia, Japan, and Canada to discuss whether they should ratify the agreement, putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage with the USA. While Japan and Canada ultimately decided to ratify the protocol, Australia, the world's second-largest emitter per capita of greenhouse gases, said it would not ratify.
"The American public can register their opinions at the ballot box, but for the rest of the world, all we can do is register our opinions via the marketplace"
The decision of the Bush government to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol was based on studies about the economic impact of its Kyoto commitments, not on a direct questioning of the science behind climate change.
This decision has important consequences: it reduces the environmental effectiveness of the Protocol; it lowers the incentives to undertake energy-saving R&D, and it increases the bargaining power of permit suppliers, Russia in particular.
Bush's campaign for presidency was backed and financed by major US oil giants, which campaigned against the Protocol and are opposing any reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Chief amongst these corporations is the world's biggest oil company, Exxon Mobil.
Campaign against Climate Change: a UK campaign
Greenhouse gas: Wikipedia free encyclopedia's article
Pew Center on Global Climate Change : "Our approach is based on sound science, straight talk, and a belief that we can work together to protect the climate while sustaining economic"
Sound the alarm for climate change now!: a Friends of the Earth International's action and campaign to lobby the G8 summit (July 6th-8th 2005, UK)
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