Alex's Outlook

Friday, October 03, 2003

Kyoto is dead.

Kyoto says that governments whose economies account for 55 percent of CO2 emissions have to ratify the treaty in order for it to go into effect. The US, which accounts for 36 percent of carbon emissions itself, has flat-out refused to ratify the treaty. Australia has joined suit. That meant that Russia's ratification was critical, since it accounts for 17 percent of CO2 emissions. Today it refused.

Interestingly, Russia had a significant incentive to join. The Communists controlled Russia when Kyoto was born c. 1990, and their factories belched out a lot more CO2 than Russia currently does. That means that today Russia can use sell all the old CO2 "credits" for a lot of money. But Putin still turned it down, noting that at the rate Russia's economy is growing Russia will be using all its extra credits by the end of the decade.

With Russia's effective withdrawal, over 55% of CO2-emitting countries have refused to sign on. As the leader of Russia's Academy of Scientists said that Kyoto's only impact "would be on several thousand people who make a living attending conferences on global warming."


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