Carbon Emission Reduction By Countries

Carbon emission reduction and fighting global warming are the biggest environmental challenges countries all around the world are facing today. Global warming is tightly linked to the way our modern societies operate and the amount of carbon footprints we leave behind in our day-to-day activities.

One of the most important international treaty on efforts for carbon emission reduction is the Kyoto Protocol. Drafted in 1997, it came into force in 2005. Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 developed countries committed to reduce their carbon emissions by 5.2% below their 1990 levels. These reductions do not include emissions from international shipping or aviation. By 2010, 191 countries have signed the protocol. While some of these countries might not have made specific commitments to reduce their carbon emissions, they have committed themselves to implementing less polluting and greener technologies, with the developed countries often helping the less developed ones in implementation.

Unfortunately, the United States isn’t among these countries despite the fact that it played an important role in the drafting of the protocol and it is also one of the world’s bigger carbon emitter. Until today, the U.S. has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, in the U.S., the global warming issue, though widely accepted by the majority of the scientific community, is still regarded with disbelief by a big part of the population. Despite this situation, many US cities have committed themselves to reducing their carbon emission by 7% below the 1990 levels. Notably, California has committed to reduce their emissions, with the desire to achieve 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The European Union is one of the world’s most committed associations when it comes to efforts to reducing its carbon footprints. In 1996, the European Council agreed to limit its contribution to global temperature increases to a maximum of 2º C. Subsequently, the European Union also developed and launched several initiatives for reducing the carbon emission of its people. Among these initiatives is the ambitious Energy 2020 plan which aims at reducing green house gasses emissions by 20% (if conditions are right, this number could rise to 30%), increasing the share of renewable energies to 20% and making a 20% improvement on energy efficiency by the year 2020. The European Union has also made the commitment to make carbon emission reductions between 80 and 95% by 2050. In a recent proposal, the European Union has called for the prohibition of gasoline and diesel fueled cars in its cities by the year 2050.

In order to achieve all these goals, the European Union has been investing heavily in renewable energies and other green technologies, as well as increasing environmental awareness amongst its people.

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