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One country’s emission of greenhouse gases affects the rest of the world through externalities. Several international conferences have resulted in agreements aiming to hold countries accountable for reducing emission. Before 2005 there were different, antagonistic schools of thought on how to make this change. The Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1997, is widely recognized as a failure to achieve this goal, partly due to this debate. The European Union had advocated for sharp reduction of emission from all countries while China, India, and Brazil claimed that this should be confined to the developed world. Their argument was that they are currently the largest developing economies, and do not want their growth to be restricted.

This paper measures the change in emissions since 1990 across 100 countries analyzing how the GDP of a country in 1990 and the change of GDP since 1990 affect the change in emissions, controlling for energy production and usage, and the change of these numbers since 1990. All data is collected from the World Bank, except oil production which is collected by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

This analysis aims to contribute to the research on the progress of limiting greenhouse gas emission and conversion to renewable energy sources. It draws attention to the relationship between emissions and GDP as major emerging market economies are likely to be the largest source of future emissions. Examining change in emissions since 1990 will allow us to see effects of economic changes on environmental issues while also tracking the progress since the less influential Kyoto Protocol and the promising Copenhagen Accord.

International Environmental Policy Agreements and their Effect on Reduction of Greenhouse Gases