Montreal and Kyoto Protocol

Aware of the negative impact of the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer and the climatic changes on the development of large regions of the Earth, the international community has lately enforced a series of measures for the protection of the atmosphere. The Montreal Protocol enforced in 1987 initiated a global strategy for the protection of the ozone layer by forbidding the industrialised countries and from 2004 the developing countries as well to produce and consume those substances that are assumed to be responsible for the destruction of stratospheric ozone. Through the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the industrialised countries (responsible for over 70% of the global emissions of “greenhouse gases”) have committed themselves (not yet in a binding way) to reduce their emissions by 5.2% compared to those of 1990 by 2008-2012. It is a particularly demanding task, also in financial terms, since it requires a change in the energy systems and in other sectors in each country (less consumption of fossil fuels, higher use of renewable or less polluting energy sources, such as natural gas), with huge investments in the development of new high-efficiency and low environmental-impact technologies. There is no doubt that, in order to reduce or eliminate the risk that human activities may cause the climate to change, the international community must soon agree on the definition and acceptance of effective measures. Scientists agree that, even if the emissions of “greenhouse gases” should disappear today, it would still take many years before the concentrations of these gases could be brought back to the levels of before the industrial development, because of the long time spent in the atmosphere by this type of emissions.

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