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Collective behavior refers to relatively spontaneous behavior, when large numbers of people are acting in an unstructured way. They share certain beliefs and concerns that do not reflect existing social norms, such as laws and conventions.

A recent incident of a collective behavior occurred during the debates on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, commonly referred to as the Kyoto Protocol, between the US and  Canada. The protocol sets binding obligations on industrialized nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The debate has centered around signing and ratification of the treaty, its performance and whether it has a good model for future global treaties.

A lot of people have united in protest at the Kyoto Protocol; the crowds organized demonstrations in the place where the Convention was organized. A debate whether the Kyoto Protocol cuts emissions and combats global warming emerged. Those who support the protest state that the Kyoto Protocol is showing little progress in reducing emissions and that it has failed to demonstrate emission reductions. The other argument is that it is difficult and too costly to implement, and, besides, its implementation involves moral hazards.

May and Caron (2009) note that Kyoto regulations on CO2 do not improve air quality; it is argued that there is a big difference on controlling sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and mercury, the gases that have a negative impact on air quality and human health, and CO2, which has practically no impact on air quality and is not toxic. Kyoto Protocol is a symbol that is too costly because it does not prevent global warming, and tens of millions of dollars have been spent within eight years; hence, it’s largely symbolic. The Kyoto regulations on developed nations hurt developing countries; this is because restricting emissions in industrialized countries hinder growth of developing nations.

All of the above has made people unite in criticizing the Kyoto Protocol, which was initially adopted in on 11th December 1997 and came in force on 16th February 2005. The number of countries who have ratified and adopted the Protocol is 191, excluding the United States and Canada, until Canada did so in 2002. This has brought social and environmental changes, which have enormous implications for societies around the globe.

Code: Sample20

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