Well over a decade after its inception, the Kyoto Protocol came into effect on Wednesday, February 16. The international treaty, ratified by 140 countries and the European Union, sets goals and trading mechanisms for countries to collectively reach a 5 percent global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from 1990 levels. While compliance with the Protocol focuses primarily on reductions of GHGs, renewable energy technologies could provide one of the most effective means for participating countries to satisfy their growing energy needs while achieving the treaty's global targets.

"It is even more troubling that today, the day that the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect, the United States remains isolated as one of the few industrialized nations that is not a party to the document."