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Abstract

The ratification of treaties, particularly the Kyoto Protocol (KP), is complicated due to domestic forces such as democracies, presidency, and public opinion. The United States is the second largest emitter of carbon emission and has yet to sign on to the stringent mitigation efforts of the KP. Climate change is an issue considered unrelated to national security; however, it is one of the most dangerous national and global threats. Ratification and implementation are domestic factors that increase the stability and credibility of international agreements. The process may be dreadfully slow, but the commitment level of democratic states tends to be significantly high. The lack of legislative support during President Clinton’s administration and President Bush’s links with the energy industry are additional examples of factors constraining support for the agreement. Lastly, public opposition towards anthropogenic climate change stems from disbelief in global warming. Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues present today requiring critical repair. Implementing the stringent goals of the KP is an excellent way towards mitigation and key elements of international governance. The U.S. can maintain its role as a superpower by taking the lead on this issue and avoiding domestic forces constraining the adoption of this agreement. If the U.S. ratifies the KP, other countries are more likely to follow this nation’s footsteps. Although the ratification process is complex, it is important that our current legislative and executive powers push the policy forward by placing it higher on the political agenda through the use of news and online outlets.

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