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Nature. 2005 Nov 17;438(7066):301-2.

Environmental policy: regional commitment to reducing emissions.

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  • 1Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA.


The non-participation of the United States in the recently ratified Kyoto Protocol is a matter for global concern because it is estimated that the country produces 24% of all greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. Here we analyse the commitment of individual states and municipalities to addressing this problem and find that, despite the federal policy, between 24 and 35% of the US population are currently (or soon will be) engaged in policies directed towards significantly reducing anthropogenic climate change. The importance of this sub-national effort, which we estimate corresponds to 27-49% of the gross domestic product, will depend--like the targets adopted in Kyoto--on the real reductions achieved in greenhouse-gas emissions.

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