[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 22-Nov-2005
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Contact: Jeff Wakefield
jeffrey.wakefield@uvm.edu
802-578-8830
University of Vermont

Nature: Up to one-third of US in compliance with Kyoto Accords

Regions' GDP equivalent to globe's second largest economy

Even though the United States does not participate in the Kyoto protocol, about one-quarter of the population lives in states, counties or cities that have adopted climate change policies similar to those of the global initiative, according to a Brief Communication published in the November 17 issue of Nature.

Including regions classified as 'probable' and 'possible' adopters, which have pledged to reduce emissions, more than one-third of the U.S. population lives in such areas, say co-authors Brendan Fisher and Robert Costanza of the University of Vermont.

Together, these regions contribute up to half of the US gross domestic product, equivalent of 16.9% of global GDP, a slightly larger share than Japan, the world's second largest economy.

Although the numbers look promising, Fisher and Costanza caution that "compliance will be a challenge even for current adopters, who have on average increased their carbon dioxide emissions by 14% since 1990." There are no mechanisms to enforce such initiatives, they add.

However, the local nature of these initiatives could make it possible to develop adaptable, site-specific plans for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The United States produces 24% of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions.

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