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Putting the brakes on global warming is no easy matter Some ways to reduce our contribution of greenhouse gases include setting strict emissions standards reducing our fossil fuel use developing alternative sources of energy to replace fossil fuels removing carbon dioxide from emissions at the source eliminating the use of chloro-fluoro-carbons slowing or mitigating deforestation and developing agricultural techniques that release less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere These changes would have far-reaching impacts on our current use of energy affecting industries and the economy Some point out that developing new technologies to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels could spur economic growth but critics contend that the costs of implementing an effective program would be too high The most recent international effort to address the greenhouse effect was the Kyoto Protocol an agreement among the industrialized nations of the world to reduce emissions of six greenhouse gases over a certain period of time More than 170 nations signed the treaty including the US the European Union Canada and Japan If the treaty had been ratified by the US Congress it would have required the US to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 7 below 1990 levels from 2008-2012 In late March 2001 President Bush announced that the US would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol Bush then suggested in his June 11 2001 remarks that instead of committing to the Kyoto Protocol standards the US would combat global warming in other ways Initially the US withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol was considered its death knell The agreement can only enter into force internationally if it is ratified by at least 55 nations that together accounted for at least 55 of the total carbon dioxide emissions in 1990 Given that the US alone was responsible for about 25 of the 1990 carbon dioxide emissions experts predicted that without the participation of the US the Kyoto Protocol
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