A Real Fix or Just Hot Air?

When delegates from 161 nations hammered out an agreement in December 1997 to save the planet from global warming, they picked an appropriate venue: Kyoto, the well-preserved cultural capital of ultra-industrialized Japan, a city where high-rises aren't allowed to ruin vistas of venerable temples in maple groves. The toughly negotiated pact became known as the Kyoto Protocol, although it's actually a treaty: 141 countries have ratified it, legally binding themselves to reduce their emissions of six greenhouse gases by 2012. From the start, there were doubts about the effectiveness of the plan. Developing countries that signed on, such as China and...

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