The US and The Kyoto Protocol: A possible hybrid approach carbon emissions mitigation

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Courtesy of Courtesy of Verisae

Stepping Into The 21st Century With Mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions Reporting In The United States

One hundred and eighty one nations have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Several countries including Afghanistan which the United States is of course working with closely as they try and form a stable democracy have yet to take a formal position on the Kyoto Protocol.

The United States itself of course under both Presidents Clinton and Bush have refused to ratify the agreement due to the rules involved regarding carbon emissions. It is expected that President Obama will work aggressively and swiftly to bring the United States into a leadership position. One country Kazakhstan wants to begin carbon reporting immediately, but still needs to work out the details and set up the resources in order to do carbon emissions management as noted by the UNFCCC.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has urged thirty seven of the most industrialized nations to adhere to the strictest of carbon reporting protocols due to the fact that these countries have the most resources. The UNFCC highlights how countries can help each other through Article 17 of Kyoto and the carbon emissions trading provisions.

The carbon emissions that countries can use in regards to things like refrigerants and food processing under the emissions trading programs are called assigned amounts units. Because of the Kyoto Protocol carbon is now tracked, traded and sold like any other item in a marketplace. There are three main facets to the Kyoto which all still hold in tact three market principles contrary to what detractors may say.

Several countries have expressed concern that countries may try and sell too many units to the point that they won't be able to meet their own required goals by carbon reporting. There are mechanisms to block this within Kyoto such as an ERU or emissions reduction unit where countries can sort of set side agreements with one another and hold each other to them as they show concern for the planet as the whole.

To highlight the idea of caring for the entire planet the Kyoto Protocol also promotes the idea of the industrialized world teaching developing countries about the need to deal with GHGs. Greenhouse gases in the countries who choose to ignore or don't understand the reporting protocols have grown to be quite a worry for those who yearn for more progress in regards to correcting global climate change.

The third important facet of Kyoto is the Clean Development Mechanism. Through the CDM countries can earn a certified emissions reduction. They do this by promoting the idea of reducing carbon emissions in countries where they wouldn't be able to do it alone. Several former dignitaries such as Kofi Annan have expressed the importance of educating the third world if you will about the harm that certain agricultural and forestry development practices can do to the environment.

Most countries have set fairly aggressive goals of reducing their carbon emissions by five to ten percent by 2012. Even the United States who has refused to ratify the agreement seems to have publicly set a goal of reducing their carbon emissions by eight percent by 2012. The sticking point for the United States up to this juncture appears to have been the fact that the United States Congress seems unwilling to stand up against the Chamber of Commerce to keep that sustained progress through carbon reporting that is required under Kyoto.

The fact of matter is that the Kyoto Protocol is generally supported by every industrialized nation that is not considered communistic within the United Nations. Of course some of the loudest critics of the United Nations within the U.S. Congress are also some of the biggest deniers of any man made causes to global warming particularly when it come to greenhouse gases.

Some would prefer the theory that goes against what 98 percent of scientists say is true and prefer the “sunspot theory”.

It is expected that all of this previous opinions and political direction will change starting in 2009. Many organizations are still trying to understand what mandatory carbon dioxide (CO2) or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions management really means. And more specifically, what an organization can do about it.

Time is running short for our planet as well as for many organization's learning curve when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. In the not to distant future, one can expect economy wide emissions management and reporting for every organization big or small.

Would your organization be ready to track CO2 down to an individual asset level across a global enterprise with hundreds of locations and thousands of emissions sources?

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