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The broad agreement among climate scientists that global temperatures will continue to increase has led some nations, states, corporations and individuals to implement actions to try to curtail global warming or adjust to it. Many environmental groups encourage individual action against global warming, often by the consumer, but also by community and regional organizations. Others have suggested a quota on worldwide fossil fuel production, citing a direct link between fossil fuel production and CO2 emissions.
There has also been business action on climate change, including efforts at increased energy efficiency and limited moves towards use of alternative fuels. One important innovation has been the development of greenhouse gas emissions trading through which companies, in conjunction with government, agree to cap their emissions or to purchase credits from those below their allowances.
On February 16, 2005, the Kyoto Protocol officially entered into force, marking an important step forward in the fight against climate change. The Kyoto Protocol is an historic milestone. It is the first, and only, binding international agreement that sets targets to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The world's primary international agreement on combating global warming is the Kyoto Protocol, an amendment to the UNFCCC negotiated in 1997. The Protocol now covers more than 160 countries globally and over 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Only the United States and Kazakhstan have not ratified the treaty, with the United States historically being the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gas. This treaty expires in 2012, and international talks began in May 2007 on a future treaty to succeed the current one.
Claiming "serious harm" to the United States economy and the exemption of "80 percent of the world, including major population centers" like China and India from the treaty, George W. Bush contends that the Kyoto Protocol is an unfair and ineffective means of addressing global climate change concerns. Bush has promoted improved energy technology as a means to combat climate change, and various state and city governments within the United States have begun their own initiatives to indicate support and compliance with the Kyoto Protocol on a local basis; an example of this being the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
China and India, though exempt from its provisions as developing countries, have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. China may have passed the U.S. in total annual greenhouse gas emissions according to some recent studies. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called on the nation to redouble its efforts to tackle pollution and global warming.
The IPCC's Working Group III is responsible for crafting reports that deal with the mitigation of global warming and analyzing the costs and benefits of different approaches. In the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, they conclude that no one technology or sector can be completely responsible for mitigating future warming. They find there are key practices and technologies in various sectors, such as energy supply, transportation, industry, and agriculture, that should be implemented to reduced global emissions. They estimate that stabilization of carbon dioxide equivalent between 445 and 710 ppm by 2030 will result in between a 0.6% increase and 3% decrease in global gross domestic product.
Over the past several years, increased awareness of the scientific findings surrounding global warming has resulted in political and economic debate. Poor regions, particularly Africa, appear at greatest risk from the suggested effects of global warming, while their actual emissions have been small compared to the developed world. At the same time, developing country exemptions from provisions of the Kyoto Protocol have been criticized by the United States and Australia, and have been used as part of the rationale for continued non-ratification by the U.S. In the Western world, the idea of human influence on climate has gained wider acceptance in Europe than in the United States.