"The Kyoto commitments were very modest (a 5 percent reduction) and short term (till 2012). At best, the treaty formed a very early step to set the world on a carbon management trajectory. Even so, the protocol generated a political firestorm in the United States. The so-called Byrd-Hagel Senate Resolution, passed 95-0 in 1997 in the lead-up to the final round of negociations on the Kyoto Protocol, held that "... the disparity of treatment between Annex I Parties* and Developing Countries and the level of required emission reductions, could result in serious harm to the United States economy." The resolution thereby made it the sense of the Senate that the United States should reject any new commitments that did not also limit the developing countries. The resolution exemplifies the declining sense of global responsibility felt by U.S. politicians, because it conveniently and even self-righteously puts aside the small detail that the United States, with just 5 percent of the world's population, accounts for one quarter of the world's emissions ! Here is the United States, far and away the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, indignantly telling poor countries bearing the consequences in famines, droughts, increased malaria transmission, and more that the United States will not even start on emissions control because the developing countries are not yet bound to do so."
Jeffrey Sachs, Common Wealth, Economics for a crowded planet, chapter "Global solutions to climate change".
* high-income signatory countries.
I really hope that things are going to change with Obama as the next U.S. President, for the follow-on to the Kyoto Protocol, to be negociated next year...