While nations wrangle over a new global treaty on climate change, the question on many minds is: What happens next?
Key portions of the Kyoto Protocol are set to expire at the end of 2012. But many of the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters have already set national targets to reduce emissions, and they’re forging their own initiatives to meet those goals.
Some are focusing on curbing deforestation and boosting renewable energy sources. Several nations are experimenting with cap-and-trade plans: Regulators set mandatory limits on industrial emissions, but companies that exceed those “caps” can buy permits to emit from companies that have allowances to spare.
In some cases, it’s not clear that countries are doing much to meet their stated climate goals. What is clear is that the pledges currently on the table aren’t legally binding, and they fall far short of what would be required to stabilize the planet’s atmosphere.
Here’s a look at what nations are doing: