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CFR Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Economics, Civics, History

Resource Types

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 52 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Lesson Plans
  • Ebooks

Regional Focus

North America, United States, Asia


Google Docs, PDF

CFR Education: Why the Kyoto Protocol Failed and How U.S. Presidents Make Treaties Today

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  • This video discusses the Kyoto Protocol, why it was created, the political pressure from special interest groups that kept the United States out of the treaty, and how American presidents can avoid this pressure to join international agreements without congressional approval.
  • Below the video, teachers will find a linked discussion guide for higher education classes, a linked lesson plan for grades 9-12, and a short description that explains key terms and adds context.
  • This is the sixth section of the U.S. Foreign Policy module.
Teaching Tips


  • This video does an excellent job of exposing students to political lobbying.
  • This video has a transcript that can be downloaded as a PDF.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students need to know what the U.S. constitution is and the branches of U.S. government.
  • Students should know what the United Nations is and why it's important.
  • The lesson plan and discussion questions are for multiple sections of the module.


  • Students can use this video for a research project on presidential attempts to deal with climate change.
  • This video can be used to create free-response questions about corporate influence on American politics, departments within the government, and regulations on specific industries.
  • This video can augment a civics lesson on the separation of powers and how this concept impacts American politics.
  • This video can support a classroom discussion on the American government's effectiveness at dealing with climate change.
Scientist Notes
This resource introduces students to how treaties are made, specifically how climate policies could fail due to disagreement between countries' priorities, external policies and change in government. It discusses how treaties are made and the basic principles of U.S. foreign policy, the role of the President, Congress, and the National Security Council in shaping U.S. foreign policy. This resource is properly cited and is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.13.9-12 Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.9-12 Analyze how incentives influence choices that may result in policies with a range of costs and benefits for different groups.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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