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December 3, 2003


The pretend Kyoto Protocol

Today we learned that Russia has stated that it will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, which means it will not take legal effect. Two of the biggest industrial countries (The US and Russia) have refused to agree to it, and because countries responsible for at least 55% of carbon dioxide emissions have to agree to it for it to take effect, it's basically void. However, even more idealistic EU countries haven't exactly been getting their emissions under control either: The Guardian reports that only 2 European countries are on track to meet the goal of reducing emissions by 8% by 2010. Existing policies in EU countries will result in a reduction of only 0.5%. The two countries who are complying are the UK and Sweden, and the worst offenders are the oft-marginalized Spain and Ireland, and the surprising worst country, Denmark.

The US and Russia both claim that the Kyoto Protocol would hurt their economies too much to be worth it. Judging from their behavior, looks like a lot of European countries secretly agree. -amy

After Bush backed out of the treaty, it was just a matter of time. In pulling out, we ceded moral ground, so nobody else really had much of a reason for staying in. Knowing the US couldn't bully them into participating, what country is going to choose helping the environment over helping its own businesses? When we backed out, we basically told the whole world that making money is more important than protecting the environment. So just as the situation in Guantanamo dilutes our ability to prompt other nations to improve their human rights record, our environmental record (pulling out of the treaty and also contributing 25% of the world's greenhouse gases) gives carte blanche to all the world's polluters.

Oh, well. Earth was fun while it lasted. Maybe the sky will clear up when we run out of fossil fuels in 40 years. -adm

categories: Politics
posted by amy at 12:57 PM | #


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