Kyoto Protocol

As the earth's powers continue to develop into a multipolar system, the world is faced with new issues that concern all countries and the people in them equally. Along with advances in technology, changes in the environment are beginning to cultivate. These changes are so rapid that concise action must be taken to fix the damage already done. In order to do this, a practical approach that is effective on an international scale must be implemented. This would mean reducing the amount of fossil fuels burned by learning to use energy more efficiently and switching to a non-polluting source such as wind, solar or wave power. In China for example, the air pollution is so thick that everyone must wear masks in order to breathe. Its' appearance resembles the dust bowl of the 1930s in the United States.

As earth's population continues to burn holes in the ozone layer, the planet will not only become warmer, but there will be many other adverse effects for all life on earth. Ice and frozen soil holding structures will melt and collapse, many species will die off with the increased temperatures and rising water levels, air will be so polluted to the point where aerobic species may suffocate, and these are only some of the negative consequences.

In December 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was formally adopted in Japan and came into force on February 16, 2005 and its' first period of commitment period ran from 2008 to 2012 (Kyoto Protocol 2014). The protocol set international emission reduction targets of green house gases (GHG) for all committed parties (developed countries) (Kyoto Protocol 2014). At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, seventeenth Conference of Parties (COP-17) many experts in the matter were apprehensive that the Kyoto Protocol would end in 2012 with no policy to replace it (The Global 2013). In December 2012, the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol was implemented in Doha, Qatar (Kyoto Protocol 2014). This amendment includes a revision to the list of GHGs, a modification of issues addressed in the first commitment period and the new commitment which would run from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2020 (Kyoto Protocol 2014). The Secretary-General of the United Nations dispersed the amendment to all parties involved in the original commitment of the protocol (Kyoto Protocol 2014).

As of 1998, the US federal government was the the largest consumer of the nations energy with 73% of that used by the Department of Defense (DOD) and 58% of the DOD's usage expended for military training and operations (Burnett 1998). Although Clinton made a promise that the government will lead by example when reducing GHG emissions, experts disagreed this would be possible (Burnett 1998). Lawrence Eagleberger, (former Secretary of State), James Schlesinger (former Secretary of Defense and Energy) and Frank Gaffney (former Undersecretary of Defense) agree that a cuts in GHGs made by the US military will severely reduce its effectiveness (Burnett 1998). The preceding mismanagement of the military caused congress to defy the Clinton Administration, but Undersecretary Sherri Goodman argued that there did not need to be an international treaty to solve a unilateral issue and that this was a matter of US sovereignty.