The most high profile global agreements to curb man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, widely believed to be contributing to global warming, stem from the 1997 Kyoto Conference. The agreements emerging from this conference are obligatory for ratifying countries through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with associated penalties for nonconformance. These agreements form a basis for reducing the emissions of a 'basket' of greenhouse gases from the industrialized countries (referred to as 'Annex 1' or
'Annex B' countries) by 5.2% of the 1990 levels by a commitment period between 2008 and 2012. It is expected that this reduction will be achieved in each Annex 1 country through the 'domestic measures' of introduction of more efficient, and/or less carbon intensive, systems of power generation and industrial processing, with possibilities for the development and management of forests and agricultural soils ( 'carbon sinks ') to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These ' domestic measures ' can be supported by the use of international 'flexible measures' such as emissions trading,joint implementation (JI) and the clean development mechanism (CDM). Countries signed up to Kyoto have introduced a range of policy measures aimed to ensure they meet their emissions targets. Some of these have the effect of internalizing at least some of the external costs associated with global warming.
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Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.