Climate Change: High stakes

The world is heating up. The greenhouse effect is changing our climate, raising temperatures and causing freak weather around the globe. Talks about climate change, and the United Nation’s response through the Kyoto Protocol, are also generating heat, no doubt reaching boiling point this month when crucial decisions must be taken in The Hague.

The World Today
5 minute READ

Christiaan Vrolijk

The Kyoto Protocol obliges industrialised countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions dramatically, taking away the fuel for economic growth and wrecking economies. Or so some would have us believe. A controversial counter view emerged at a workshop organised by the Energy and Environment Programme at Chatham House which concluded that the agreement might instead be too weak to make a difference.

Countries will not necessarily have to achieve their pollution targets by cutting carbon dioxide emissions. They may choose to deal with other polluting gases or to offset their pollution against absorption by forests. Polluting nations may even buy permits to pollute from countries which exceed their targets and pollution cutting projects in developing countries will count too.

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