1945

Introduction

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The twentieth century was an era in which economic development and growth were achieved by burning fossil fuels, or in other words by continually increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. When delegations from 161 countries gathered in 1997 at the Kyoto International Conference Center and agreed to oblige industrialized nations to cut emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) – such as the CO2 that was emblematic of the twentieth century – it was an epoch-making event that marked a historic turning point. At the same time, it signified a farewell to a twentiethcentury model of industrial civilization that had been characterized by oil and automobiles. The Kyoto Protocol was viewed as standing in opposition to the morals and principles of market fundamentalism: its contents imposed “regulations” on industrialized nations in the sense that it set obligatory reduction amounts, and thus went against the basic principle of market fundamentalism, which believes that a free, competitive market economy is the optimal system.

Related Subject(s): Environment and Climate Change
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