On December 11, 1997, delegates from more than 150 countries signed the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement to lower the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. The Kyoto Protocol states that industrialized nations will reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to below what they were in 1990.
 
The Kyoto Protocol was the first major international effort to slow global climate change. Since 1997, 191 countries have backed the agreement, though the United States has not. Nations in the developing world are not bound by targets in the Kyoto Protocol. Some of these nations, such as China and Brazil, support industrial economies. Some developed nations, including the U.S., Canada, and Russia, have not agreed to emissions targets.
 
Perhaps because of its lack of worldwide support, the Kyoto Protocol has been limited in its success: greenhouse gas output has increased since 1997, not decreased. Despite not meeting its goals, Kyoto has been significant as a symbol. It was the first step in the process to combat global warming.
atmosphere (atm)
Noun

(atm) unit of measurement equal to air pressure at sea level, about 14.7 pounds per square inch. Also called standard atmospheric pressure.

Noun

gradual changes in all the interconnected weather elements on our planet.

delegate
Noun

representative in government or a person who represents someone else.

developing world
Noun

nations with low per-capita income, little infrastructure, and a small middle class.

emission
Noun

discharge or release.

Noun

increase in the average temperature of the Earth's air and oceans.

greenhouse gas
Noun

gas in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone, that absorbs solar heat reflected by the surface of the Earth, warming the atmosphere.

industrialize
Verb

to develop large-scale factories and plants (industry).

Kyoto Protocol
Noun

(1997) international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

significant
Adjective

important or impressive.

symbol
Noun

something used to represent something else.

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