The U.S. is facing increasing pressure to become a member of the international climate control agreement, known as the Kyoto Protocol, established in 1997, in which all nations agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since we release 25% of the CO2 that gets into the atmosphere, there is intensepressure for us to sign this, but our government insists it will be bad for business. Other critics fear that it will be ineffective, since some countries, such as Italy, have been let off too easy by agreeing to plant more trees. Also China, which is probably the world?s major polluter, has not yet come to the table.

Andrew Buncombe writes in the Independent that the countries that have signed the protocol so far, which includes Japan and most of Europe, want the US to sign the agreement as more of a symbolic gesture, if nothing more. We are certainly free to proclaim one thing and actually do another?a trick all governments frequently indulge in.

When last week’s summit meeting on climate change opened last week in Montreal, the US made clear the we would not be part of a binding agreement to cut emissions of greenhouse gases once the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012. Right now, 36 countries have agreed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by around 5% below their 1990 levels by 2012. The Bush administration has consistently refused toratify the agreement, but the current pressure it is underdue to the rapidly changing climate and internationaldemands could change its position.

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