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Topic – The Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement

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The Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement

The melting of glaciers due to global warming severely threatens the habitats and survival of polar bears

The word climate refers to the average weather conditions in a place over a long period of time. For example, the typical climate in a desert is hot and dry. The term climate change is used to describe a change in the average weather conditions over a long period of time. Global climate change is the term for long-term climate changes that happen all over the world.

Global climate change has happened throughout Earth’s history. You have probably heard the term ice age, which refers to a time when the average temperatures on Earth get much colder, and a large part of the planet is covered in ice. An ice age is an example of global climate change. There have been several ice ages on Earth. The last one was thousands of years ago.

Factories burn toxic gases and materials, which are released into the atmosphere and impact the temperature of the Earth

Today, we are living in a time of global climate change. The climate on Earth is getting warmer, not colder. People use the term global warming to describe this climate change. A long period of global warming makes glaciers melt more quickly, causing a rise in sea levels. Oceans get warmer, which causes an increase in the number of severe hurricanes. Warmer average temperatures can have negative effects on the environment and all living things, including people.

Nearly all scientists believe that the global warming Earth is experiencing today is largely caused by humans. Certain types of gases, called greenhouse gases, block heat from escaping from Earth’s atmosphere. As the amount of greenhouse gases in the air increases, less and less heat escapes and Earth gets warmer. Some human activities, such as driving cars, put more greenhouse gases in the air, contributing to global warming. Pollution from various industries also contains greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto Protocol

People realized that since global warming is a global problem, it makes sense for countries around the world to work together on the problem. This led to the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement signed by nearly all countries. The richer, more developed countries promised to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they put into the air. They also promised to pay fines if they did not meet their targets for reducing greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol took effect in 2005.

Canada was initially part of the Kyoto Protocol, but the federal government decided to opt-out of the agreement in 2012. Canada had not reduced its greenhouse gases as much as the Kyoto Protocol required, so it would have to pay a fine. The government claimed this fine would be $14 billion and it could not afford to pay such a large fine. Critics claimed that the government had greatly exaggerated the amount of the fine.

The Paris Agreement

Over time, countries recognized that there were problems with the Kyoto Protocol. They set to work creating a new agreement, which would replace the Kyoto Protocol. This agreement is often called the Paris Agreement. Like the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement has the goal of reducing the amount of greenhouse gases countries put into the air in order to limit global warming. Canada, along with nearly every other country in the world, signed the Paris Agreement. The agreement took effect in 2016.


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