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This has led some climate scientists to say that the deal is “toothless” and virtually obsolete without US support. Although the Kyoto Protocol was a diplomatic milestone, its success was far from assured. In fact, reports published in the first two years after the treaty entered into force indicated that most participants would not meet their emission targets. However, even if the targets were met, some critics believe that the environmental benefits would not be significant, as China, the world`s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and the United States, the world`s second largest emitter, were not bound by the protocol (China because of its status as a developing country and the United States because it had not ratified the protocol). Other critics argued that the emission reductions required by the protocol were too modest to establish a demonstrable global temperature difference over the following decades, even if they were fully achieved with the United States. Participation. Meanwhile, some developing countries have argued that improving adaptation to climate change and variation is as important as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted as the first complement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty that required its signatories to develop national programmes to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), brush gas (N2O), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) influence the energy balance of the global atmosphere in a way that is expected to lead to a general rise in the global average temperature known as global warming (see also the greenhouse effect). According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization, the long-term effects of global warming would involve a general rise in global sea levels, which would cause the flooding of low-lying coastal areas and the eventual disappearance of some island states; melting glaciers, sea ice and Arctic permafrost; an increase in the number of extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts and changes in their distribution; and an increased risk of extinction for 20-30% of all plant and animal species. The Kyoto Protocol required most signatories to Annex I to the UNFCCC (composed of members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and several countries with “economies in transition”) to meet binding emission reduction targets, which varied according to the particular circumstances of each country.

Other signatories to the UNFCCC and the Protocol, mainly developing countries, were not required to limit their emissions. The Protocol entered into force in February 2005, 90 days after its ratification by at least 55 Annex I signatories, representing at least 55% of total carbon dioxide emissions in 1990. 1-11 December 1997 – The Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC will be held in Kyoto, Japan. Nearly 200 nations participate and adopt the first international treaty on the management and reduction of greenhouse gases. Russia`s position became crucial when the United States and Australia decided not to ratify the agreement. . . .