Dec. 11, 1997: US signs Kyoto Protocol

Several countries met in Japan to sign the agreement in an effort to reduce global warming.
2:22 | 12/06/17

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Transcript for Dec. 11, 1997: US signs Kyoto Protocol
Now throughout the world today people to try to figure out precisely what various countries. Have really agree to do what climate change that that big meeting in Japan which is now over. The United States has agreed to reduce the output of so called greenhouse gases by 7%. Below what they were in 1990 Europe would cut those gas emissions by 8%. And Japan by 6%. This is far from the end of it here in the congress and in the business community. There are those who argue this will make US business less competitive and cost American jobs whether that is true or not. Americans may well have to change some habits here's ABC's Jack Smith. The oil shock of the 1970s was the last time Americans have to make sacrifices like those being talked about today. Commitments made in Kyoto me in the US would have to make drastic cuts carbon dioxide pollution from coal natural gas and oil. It's a treaty ratified people certainly think differently about energy use and we'll certainly have to become more miserly ninja man him and looked alternatives. Unfortunately that can't happen without significantly changing what people live their lives. Americans would have to stop using the gas guzzling recreational vehicles they enjoy so much in instead drive more fuel efficient cars. More of us would have to live and smaller more energy efficient homes use special low energy light bulbs and buy new energy efficient household appliances. Some see this as an opportunity for much needed change. We use more energy than any other country in the world. And buying. Making choices we can use a lot less energy and others think it's a potential disaster. Power companies might have to give up Colin switch to alternative sources like wind or solar energy. Energy costs could rise twenty to 30% it said making US industry uncompetitive and sending millions of jobs overseas. We need to realize that there is no free lunch there is no free way. A reducing emissions by a third over the next fifteen years still unanswered is how the trading would be enforced how you get Americans to use less energy. And how to get the treaty even considered on Capitol Hill right now there's little support. Jack Smith ABC news Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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