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Экология The Earth Summit and the Kyoto Protocol are two UN-sponsored events that have helped transform how we think about our responsibility to the natural environment.
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The Earth Summit

The 1992 Conference on Environment and Development, commonly known as the Earth Summit, met in Rio de Janeiro and adopted Agenda 21, a plan for global sustainable development that is being monitored by a UN body, the Commission on Sustainable Development. А historic set of agreements was signed at the "Earth summit", including two binding agree­ments, the Convention on Climate Change, which targets industrial and other emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, the first global agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Over l50 Governments signed the treaty at the Rio Conference, and since then more than l75 countries have ratified it.

The Convention has three main goals:

· The conservation of biodiversity;

· The sustainable use of the components of biodiversity;

· Sharing the benefits arising from the commercial and other utilization of genetic resources in а fair and equitable way.

The Convention recognizes - for the first time - that the conservation of biological diversity is "а common concern of humankind" and is an integral part of the development process. It also covers the rapidly expanding field of biotechnology, addressing technology development and transfer, benefit sharing and biosafety. The Convention also offers deci­sion makers guidance based on the precautionary principle that where there is а threat of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as а reason for postponing measures to avoid or minimize such а threat.

Five years later the General Assembly held a special session, Earth Summit +5, to assess progress and suggest future action.

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol addresses global warming caused by human action. By 1990s a scientific consensus was emerging that carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" emitted largely by industrialized nations were causing the world's climate to warm with potentially long-term consequences for vital human activities.

Despite mounting evidence of climate change some highly developed nations such as the USA (it has the largest carbon dioxide emission) refused to comply with the 1992 Framework[6], claiming potential loss of economic growth. To push matters along, the UN sponsored a meeting in Kyoto, in December 1997, where major industrialized nations signed a protocol setting hard-and-fast targets for decreasing the emission of six greenhouse gases[7] by more than 5 per cent by 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol makes an important promise: to reduce greenhouse gases in developed countries by the end of the first decade of the new century. Because the Kyoto Protocol will affect virtually all major sectors of the economy, it is considered to be the most far-reaching agreement on environment and sustainable devel­opment ever adopted. However the complexity in its implementation is not to be ignored. This complexity is а reflection of the enormous challenges posed by the control of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also а result of the diverse political and economic interests that had to be balanced in order to reach an agreement. Billion-dollar industries will be reshaped; some will profit from the transition to а climate-friendly economy, others will not.

The costs of climate change policies can be minimized through "no regrets" strategies. Such strategies make economic and environmental sense whether or not the world is moving towards rapid climate change. For example, boosting energy efficiency not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also lowers the cost of energy, thus making industries and countries more competitive in international markets; it also eases the health and environ­mental costs of urban air pollution. At the same time, the precautionary principle and the expected net damage from climate change justify adopting policies that do entail some costs.

Among the Protocol's innovations are three "mechanisms"[8] parties can use to obtain credit for reducing emissions in other countries. The idea is that countries that find it par­ticularly expensive to reduce emissions at home can pay for cheaper emissions cuts else­where. The global economic efficiency of reducing emissions is increased while the over­all 5 per cent reduction target is still met. The Protocol stipulates, however, that credit for making reductions elsewhere must be supplementary to domestic emissions cuts.

Governments must still decide just how the three mechanisms for doing this will function. The rules they adopt will strongly influence the costs of meeting emissions tar­gets. They will also determine the environmental credibility of the mechanisms - that is, their ability to contribute to the Protocol's aims rather than opening up "loopholes" in emissions commitments.

The Kyoto protocol is not an end result, and can be strengthened and built on in the future. What is more, although developing countries are not currently subject to any spe­cific timetables and targets, they are expected to take measures to limit the growth rate of their emissions and to report on actions they are taking to address climate change. There is а good deal of evidence that many developing countries are indeed taking steps that should help their emissions grow at а slower rate than their economic output.

2. Give English equivalents for the following Russian expressions