Study Looks At Percentage Of Population In Areas In Compliance With Kyoto Accords

Even though the United States does not participate in the Kyoto protocol, about one-quarter of the population lives in states, counties or cities that have adopted climate change policies similar to those of the global initiative, according to a Brief Communication published in the Nov. 17 issue of Nature.

Including regions classified as "probable" and "possible" adopters, which have pledged to reduce emissions, more than one-third of the U.S. population lives in such areas, said co-authors Brendan Fisher and Robert Costanza of the University of Vermont.

Together, these regions contribute up to half of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), equivalent of 16.9 percent of global GDP.

Fisher and Costanza caution that "compliance will be a challenge even for current adopters, who have on average increased their carbon dioxide emissions by 14 percent since 1990." There are no mechanisms to enforce such initiatives, they add.

However, the local nature of these initiatives could make it possible to develop adaptable, site-specific plans for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

This article originally appeared in the 11/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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