“It was tingling all the way to the end,” said climate scientist and lawyer Hermann Ott, describing the marathon negotiations that stretched into the early hours of the morning and charted the course for humanity’s fight against climate change . “Up to the last moment we were trembling about whether it would fail in the last few meters.” The result of the talks, which came into force eight years later, was the Kyoto Protocol: the first binding treaty under international law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a milestone in international climate policy. It set the tone for everything that followed, said Saleemul Huq, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development. First conceived in 1992 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro — which underlined the historical responsibility of rich countries for emitting greenhouse gases — the Kyoto Protocol made concrete how big emitters should take the lead in slowing climate change. One hundred and forty-one countries had ratified it by 2005. The treaty committed 38 industrialized nations to reducing emissions of climate-damaging gases by an average of 5.2% by 2012 below 1990 levels. The signatories included the US and EU, known at the time… Read full this story
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