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Kyoto Climate Change Treaty Sputters to a Sorry End

Dec 31, 2012
(CBC News)

The controversial and ineffective Kyoto Protocol's first stage comes to an end today, leaving the world with 58 percent more greenhouse gases than in 1990, as opposed to the five percent reduction its signatories sought.

From the beginning, the treaty that was adopted in 1997 in Kyoto, Japan, was problematic. Opponents denied the science of climate change and claimed the treaty was a socialist plot. Environmentalists decried the lack of ambition in Kyoto and warned of dire consequences for future generations.

But the goal of the treaty was simple.

"We hoped that we would be able to reduce greenhouse gases substantially, but that it was a first step," explained Christine Stewart, the Liberal environment minister who negotiated in Kyoto on Canada's behalf.