Editor's note: Sandi Halimuddin, a University of Washington student interning with The Seattle Times opinion section, is contributing to our Ed Cetera blog.
Editor’s note: Sandi Halimuddin, a University of Washington student interning with The Seattle Times opinion section, is contributing to our Ed Cetera blog.
This year, the United Nation’s two-week climate-change conference, COP18 in Doha, Qatar, provides yet another opportunity for serious climate-change mitigation. And with the recent Superstorm Sandy, it is clear that tough decisions must be hammered out as soon as possible because climate change will not slow down for us.
Although the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual conferences are praised as a step in the right direction for increasing awareness on environmental issues, the political gridlock between developed and developing countries has hindered substantial progress in creating long-term plans for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions (GHGs)
At COP 18, participants must decide whether to renew the Kyoto Protocol, the legally binding agreement for industrialized countries to reduce GHGs that is set to expire this month. Developing countries are tasked with hosting clean-energy projects funded by developed countries.
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Although ratified by 187 countries, the Kyoto Protocol has suffered from a lack of commitment; the U.S. did not ratify the treaty under President George W. Bush and in 2011 Canada abandoned commitments to avoid severe penalties of failing to meet 2012 targets.
Another player with commitment issues to to the Kyoto treaty is the city of Seattle. Although the U.S. never signed the international treaty, in 2005 under the leadership of Mayor Greg Nickels, Seattle garnered praise for adopting the Kyoto treaty goal of 7 percent drop in 1990-level GHGs by 2012 through small, everyday lifestyle changes.