The Terrestrial Carbon Cycle: Implications for the Kyoto Protocol

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Science  29 May 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5368, pp. 1393-1394
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5368.1393

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The Kyoto Protocol achieved a significant breakthrough by including terrestrial carbon sources and sinks into a legally binding emissions reduction framework. The effectiveness of the portocol can be improved by adopting a full carbon budget. Terrestrial carbon sinks are part of an active biological cycle and can offset fossil fuel emissions only temporarily, from decades to a century. They can thus buy time to address anthropogenic perturbation emissions.