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A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
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Feature of the Month: Kyoto Protocol Update

Item #d99mar35

The Kyoto Protocol was adopted on Dec. 12, 1997, and opened for signature from Mar. 16, 1998, to Mar. 15, 1999. The Protocol commits developed countries to reduce their collective emissions of six key greenhouse gases by at least 5% by the period 2008-12. The parties to the Protocol are now working on a two-year action plan to finalize the outstanding details. On the closing date, 84 countries (including the European Community) had signed the Protocol. Governments that did not sign during the signatory period may still become Parties through the procedures of acceptance, approval, or accession. After signing the agreement, a government must ratify it, often with the approval of its parliament or legislature. Thus far, seven countries, mostly small island or low-lying states which are particularly concerned about rising sea levels, have ratified the agreement. They are Antigua and Barbuda, El Salvador, Fiji, Maldives, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tuvalu. The Protocol will enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by at least 55 Parties to the Convention, at least 55% of which are developed countries. An up-to-date list of signatures and ratifications can be found via the Internet at

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