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Political & Economic & Environmental Aspects of the Kyoto Protocol - The issue of global warming and the Kyoto Protocol is a topic highly charged debate.

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Introduction

Political & Economic & Environmental Aspects of the Kyoto Protocol The issue of global warming and the Kyoto Protocol is a topic highly charged debate. Australia's involvement with the Kyoto Protocol affects the economic and political aspects of our country. These will be discussed further in this report. 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. It encompasses counties all over the world but mainly the Asia-Pacific region. The objective of the Kyoto climate-change conference was to establish a legally binding international agreement, where 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% on 1990 levels by the year 2012 (1). ...read more.

Middle

'Bush has no interest in pursuing the Kyoto Protocol', declared the US Environment Protection Agency chief, Christine Whitman (3). 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' (4). Essentially, 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 Protocol was a low priority for the Howard government from the very beginning. Economic Australia was one of only two nations that successfully negotiated an increase in their GGE's. They were allowed to increase their emissions by 8% on 1990 levels by 2012 (5). Prime Minister John Howard described this political victory as a terrific result for Australia. However, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) have recently released a sobering statistic. ...read more.

Conclusion

As an example, this year NSW State Forests won a contract for carbon credits with Japanese electrical company TEPCO worth $120 million (9). However, the viability of Emissions Trading is now in severe doubt with t the support of the US. Environmental Political and economic considerations aside, another danger of global warming is rising sea levels, due to the melting of the polar ice caps. Consider a nation like the Maldives, a small group of islands in the Indian Ocean. The average height of land in the Maldives is only a few metres above sea level. If the issue of greenhouse gas emissions is not immediately addressed, the Maldives, in the not too distant future, will be completely under water. Conclusion Climate change is a global concern and we can see that Australia's reluctance to seriously participate in the Kyoto Protocol will have serious consquences for the entire Asia-Pacific region, not just Australia. It is also clear that Australia is too willing to agree with America. It is the responsibility of the world's two most notorious polluters to take the lead role in reducing GGE's, not to turn their backs to the problem. ...read more.

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