Sunday, March 13, 2005


How Green Was Their Folly?

Last month, after years of negotiations and dire warnings of impending environmental collapse, the much-awaited Kyoto Protocol became a part of the Euro-reality. With all the hype, it is easy to miss the main point: the Protocol is futile and costly - an example of well-intended political voodoo, discarded by the US for all the right reasons. The original Kyoto Protocol of 1997 called for a reduction of greenhouse emissions to 5.2 percent below 1990 levels and required ratification by the nations producing at least 55 percent of the world's emissions. With its arbitrary reduction targets and lack of scientific justification, it failed to muster the support of 40 percent and had to be renegotiated. The new Kyoto Protocol (NKP) of July 23, 2001, moderated the demands down to 1.8 percent reduction on 1990 levels. The majority of the signatories to the Protocol, including the world's fastest growing polluters, China, India and Brazil, have no reductions commitments under the NKP. At the same time, the overall world emissions levels currently run at 13-15 percent above the 1990 level. Three fundamental arguments underlie support for the NKP: (1) NKP is a necessary measure that can address the problem of global warming; (2) NKP is a moderate policy response to the failures of the orthodox laissez-faire approach to development; (3) NKP will support emergence of greener technologies and consumer alternatives. In reality, all three claims are, at best, bogus. NKP is neither necessary nor appropriate....

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