On Dec. 11, 1997, representatives from over 150 nations gathered in Kyoto to hammer out what would become the world's first international agreement to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide.

In a marathon nearly two-week negotiating session that ran into the early morning hours of the day after the conference was supposed to end, and following a quick fly-in visit by U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who urged all sides and especially the United States to compromise, a deal was struck.

The Kyoto Protocol would become one of the most inspirational and controversial treaties ever signed.