December 05, 2003

Kyoto Protocol in Peril

If the NYTwits put half as much integrity into their
political and geopolitical reporting as they do into
*some* of their editorials, they could still be
considered "the paper of record" as opposed to the
"paper of revision." Nevertheless, here is an
excellent editorial on the danger that the _resident's
reign has brought to us all. And, of course, we all
have Ralph Nada, who has announced his "exploratory
committee" for 2004, to thank for it. Nada chose to
campaign in Fraudida in the final days of the 2000
election, Nada got many tens of thousands of vote. At
least half of the people who voted for Nada would have
voted for Gore if they did not have a Green in the
race, those tens of thousands would have cancelled out
the vote fraud that led to the stallmate that the five
Supreme In Just Us hacks could break with an
outrageous and UNconstitutional decision...Of course,
it is unlikely now that any Democratic candidate will
have the guts to run on this issue in 2004 (probably a
mistake), BUT had Gore been allowed to take the office
to which he was elected, it would not a very different
world and a very different political climate and the
national debate would have been set up in a very
different way...Yes, Ralph Nada LIED when he said
there was no difference between Bush and Gore, on this
issue as well as so many others. I say he lied because
he is an intelligent man and he knows that Gore would
not have withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol and so we
therefore would have had a vigorous and healthy
national debate about HOW to deal with the very real
crisis of global warming as opposed to where we are
now ISOLATED from the rest of the world, in DENIAL
about the scientific facts of the situation and WORST
OF ALL wasting time we do not have to waste... As the
bard wrote in All Along The Watch Tower, "Let us not
talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."
New York Times: The 1997 protocol has many flaws. It is, however, the only international response to the global warming problem thus far devised, and at the very least it provides a plausible framework for collective international action. One would never know this by listening to the Bush administration. Indeed, it can be argued that Russia would not be having second thoughts about the Kyoto accord had Mr. Bush himself decided not to bail out.
Save the Environment, Show Up for Democracy in 2004: Defeat Bush (again!)


http://truthout.org/docs_03/120503H.shtml

Kyoto Protocol in Peril

The New York Times | Editorial

Thursday 04 December 2003

The news from Moscow on Tuesday was not good
Russia, a senior official said, had decided not to
ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Combined
with President Bush's decision two years ago to
abandon the pact, Russia's rejection would have
effectively killed it. Then yesterday came word that
it might have been a false alarm, a negotiating tactic
to strengthen Moscow's leverage in economic talks with
the European Union, and that Russia was indeed "moving
toward" ratification.

Let us hope this is the case. The 1997 protocol has
many flaws. It is, however, the only international
response to the global warming problem thus far
devised, and at the very least it provides a plausible
framework for collective international action. One
would never know this by listening to the Bush
administration. Indeed, it can be argued that Russia
would not be having second thoughts about the Kyoto
accord had Mr. Bush himself decided not to bail out.
Under the terms of the agreement, Russia whose
economy collapsed in the 1990's, and whose
global-warming emissions were thus well below the
limits imposed by the treaty would have profited
handsomely from selling unused emissions credits to
countries with booming economies. But the market for
these credits, and Russia's potential economic gains,
diminished sharply when the United States, which would
have been a major buyer of credits, pulled out.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to
bad-mouth the treaty at every opportunity, the most
recent example being an amazingly slippery piece of
demagoguery by Paula Dobriansky, the under secretary
of state for global affairs and the lead American
delegate to a follow-up meeting on the Kyoto agreement
that is now taking place in Milan. Writing in The
Financial Times, Ms. Dobriansky begins by trashing the
climate agreement as an "unrealistic and
ever-tightening regulatory straitjacket." She then
goes on to praise the Bush administration's
alternative a mix of research and development into
"breakthrough" technologies and voluntary emissions
controls by American companies as much the better
plan.

Ms. Dobriansky fails to mention two key points. The
first is that the Bush administration's program would
allow greenhouse gases to keep building up, even
though atmospheric concentrations are already
alarmingly high and the name of the game is to
stabilize and then reverse them. Mr. Bush's approach
would translate into an actual increase in emissions
of 14 percent over the next decade.

The second is that voluntarism will not work. While
some companies seem willing to do something about
global warming on their own, history has shown that
the private sector as a whole will neither create new
technologies nor, more to the point, put them into
broad use without strong financial incentives. The
Kyoto framework provides just such incentives because
it combines mandatory limits on emissions with
substantial, market-based rewards for operating more
efficiently and then asks all companies to do their
part. Ms. Dobriansky's belief that companies will
spend heavily on breakthrough technologies if their
competitors are not doing likewise is sheer fantasy.

The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 120
countries, including nearly all of the industrialized
nations. Most have pledged to soldier on with their
own efforts to reduce emissions, despite Mr. Bush's
negativism and regardless of what Russia ultimately
does. But it will not be easy for these countries to
make major investments in cleaner power plants,
alternative fuels and all the other things that must
be done to reduce emissions while the United States,
in effect, gets a free ride. The battle against global
warming will never be fully joined unless America
joins it.

Posted by richard at December 5, 2003 10:37 AM