Chapter 11. GLOBAL WARMING: The Not-So-Great Debate

More than a decade ago, in December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was opened for ratification. It was the world's first major integrated attempt to take action on carbon emissions, in an effort to do something about global warming.

Since then, 174 nations have signed on, and 35 have agreed to firm caps on their emissions. In fact, the United States is the only developed nation in the world that continues to refuse to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, citing concerns about the economic cost, and rationalizing inaction by pointing to uncertainty in the data and theory. The media in the United States have been highly supportive of the government's resistance as well, continually referring to the global warming "debate."

Yet, the debate has been over for more than a decade. Only the countries who refuse to pay any cost to stop poisoning the world's atmosphere still call it a "debate." But that seems to be changing now. Over the course of George W. Bush's administration alone, their stance has gone from one of denying that global warming exists, to admitting that it exists but casting doubt on the causes of it, to admitting that human activity is at least partially to blame but still insisting that only nonbinding, voluntary reductions are palatable.

Hey, it's a start.

GLOBAL WARMING: The Not-So-Great Debate

Sources: TOLES © 2006, Washington Post. Reprinted with permission of Universal Press ...

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