1. The USA is the World's Biggest Polluter
The world's largest polluter, the USA, has recently not backed pollution treaties to reduce car emissions orpetrol consumption. The US alone accounted for 36.1% of worldwide greenhouse emissions in 19901.
“The US contains 4% of the world's population but produces about 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions. By comparison, Britain emits 3% - about the same as India which has 15 times as many people.”
BBC: The US and climate change (2002)2
Many environmentalists understand that developing countries do nothave the technology or means to use the most modern or environmentally friendly industrial equipment. But when such a rich country as the USA fails to take responsibility for its own pollution it really annoys a lot of people worldwide. I have created this essay just to concentrate on the USA and President Bush's effect on the Kyoto Protocol because I receive so many emails from people expressing ahatred of the USA because of these issues.
Carbon Dioxide Emissions of the three biggest polluters:
| The USA | EU Countries | China | Total |
Population of world: | 4.6% | 6.3% | 21% | 31.9% |
World economy: | 30% | 23% | 3.2% | 56.2% |
CO2 Emissions: | 24% | 14% | 13% | 51% |
| Source: BBC3 |
China and the EU, both lesser polluters than the US, have one thing in common: They are bothcommitted to further reducing their rate of emissions. Despite economic growth China has cut emissions by 17% since the mid 1990s. The odd one out is the USA. Immensely richer than China, but with less population than Europe, it emits more harmful chemicals than both of them. In addition, it has so far stubbornly refused to endorse international protocols designed to reduce such emissions. The worldlooks on flabbergasted as the world's greatest polluter cares not to take care or responsibility in the face of international pressure.
2. The Kyoto Protocol
2.1. After Two Decades of Leadership, the USA fell in the 1990s
In the 1970s the USA was a world leader on serious long-term environmental issues. The USA joined many groups in protecting endangered species, oceans and fisheries. Itshonourable and wise actions continued through the 1980s.
“In the mid 1980s the US led efforts to address the problem of the ozone layer. The 1987 Montreal Protocol imposed a stringent ban on the production and use of many substances widely used around the world: deodorants, refrigerants and propellants for aerosol tins. In 1990 the US brokered amendments to the protocol allowing India and China to join.The Protocol has now been ratified by almost every country in the world, and the hole in the ozone layer is closing. American political clout and creativity played a major part in this success.”
General Sir Beach (2005)4
In 1990 the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (of which the USA is the largest funder) reported on the problem of global warming, which is by far the mostimportant and serious environmental issue. It was once considered a long-term problem. Now it is upon us.
"In 1997 a protocol was adopted at Kyoto under which countries formally undertook to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by specific percentages of the 1990 levels. Bill Clinton hailed the Protocol as a historic agreement and signed it in November 1998. [But President Bush from 2001 opposed...