Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Russia and Kyoto

Russia's wavering on the Kyoto Protocol may now prevent it coming into force. In order for the protocol to proceed, it needed to be ratified both by 55 different countries and by countries producing 55 percent of all greenhouse gases. With the largest producer, the USA, now out of the agreement, the protocol needed to be ratified by almost all the other industrialised countries. Already, Australia has decided not to ratify.

What is interesting is the way in which income played a part in Russia's decision. Russia was in a strong position to trade emissions since its industrial output collapsed after 1990. However, without the USA, there is less of a market for emissions trading. Presumably, Russia would ratify if someone threw some cash at the problem, but it suits the USA to let someone else take the flak for a change.

It would be nice to think that arguments like Bjorn Lomborg's, that the Kyoto Protocol is a diversion from much more useful projects, would be influencing the debate. But at the moment, outside of the USA, I doubt it.

BBC NEWS | World | Kyoto treaty in the balance

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