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

Regions' GDP equivalent to globe's second largest economy

University of Vermont

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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