The Kyoto Protocol Just a Lot of Hot Air?

By Schmidt, Charles W. | Environmental Health Perspectives, August 2000 | Go to article overview

The Kyoto Protocol Just a Lot of Hot Air?


Schmidt, Charles W., Environmental Health Perspectives


The Kyoto Protocol on global warming is struggling to survive in a political climate hotter than the global climate it was intended to cool. Three years after being negotiated by 150 countries in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, this first attempt to set internationally binding limits on greenhouse gas emissions is about as far from its goal as it was the day it was conceived. Only 24 countries--all of them in the developing world--have ratified the protocol so far, excluding all the major powers that contribute the bulk of emissions worldwide. Members of the U.S. Congress have criticized the protocol because they feel it unfairly saddles the United States with most of the responsibility for emissions reductions while requirements imposed on developing countries are considerably more lenient. This view prevails among influential industry stakeholders who continue to lobby against the protocol's ratification by Congress.

But even as the Kyoto Protocol faces a steep uphill battle in Congress, a majority of both the public and scientific community believe that global warming is not only real but happening now. Faced with steady news reports of melting Antarctic glaciers and extreme weather patterns, 60% of the American public subscribes to this view, according to a 1998 survey by the World Wildlife Fund. Furthermore, a March 1999 survey conducted by the Mellman Group, a Washington, DC-based polling organization, found that 76% percent of 450 congressional officials, industry association leaders, media representatives, economists, scientists, and policy experts think global warming is occurring and that U.S. action is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These opinions are dividing what has traditionally been a united front of conservative officials and industry representatives who maintain that the science on global warming is inconclusive and that more study is needed to justify costly emissions reductions. These critics charge that climate science is based on computer models that are only crude approximations of real world conditions, and that the resulting scientific uncertainty about the interactions of various climatological factors must be acknowledged.

Recently, however, 21 multinational companies went on record stating that global warming is a threat that must be met with emissions reductions. Each of these companies belongs to an organization called the Business Environmental Leadership Council, administered by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change in Arlington, Virginia. Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center, says these companies, which include Shell, BP Amoco, and American Electric Power, have described the Kyoto Protocol as a "first but incomplete step to addressing this issue internationally." And while refraining from supporting the Kyoto Protocol itself, several powerful Republicans are suggesting that the threat of global warming needs to be taken seriously. These include Senators John McCain (R-Arizona), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, who launched a full-scale investigation into the science behind global warming on 17 May 2000, and Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire), the new chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, who is attempting to forge consensus around an incentive-based utility emissions reduction bill that addresses greenhouse gases.

One outstanding question is whether these shifting views on global warming will increase support for the Kyoto Protocol in Congress. Currently, the protocol is so contentious and so mired in partisan politics that ratification, at least in the short term, appears unlikely. But supporters are hopeful that a pivotal international meeting of protocol delegates, scheduled for 12-13 November 2000 in the Hague, the Netherlands, will ameliorate some of these differences and pave the way for its eventual success.

According to the theory of global warming, gaseous emissions from fossil fuel combustion, particularly carbon dioxide ([CO. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Kyoto Protocol Just a Lot of Hot Air?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.