16 February 2005

Oh no, Kyoto!

Today the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect. I must say, it feels a bit like when I was on a boat in Indonesia last week and we crossed the Equator (twice) -- we didn't notice much of a difference, not even a discernible bump!

Yet a majority of the world's industrial countries will now begin their efforts to reduce greenhouse gases under the agreement; indeed Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, Canada and others have already reached the reduction goal of 5% below 1990 and it didn't seem to hurt too much. Companies like BP, Alcoa, and even Dupont are applying more stringent reductions and finding cost savings that may increase profits. Even developing countries are getting into the act, including powerhouses China and India who are starting to look into clean energy generation.

So where is the U.S.? Still on the sidelines. Actually, they haven't shown up for spring training. They want to "study the science" a bit more before making a commitment. That translates as a stall technique to bring Bush's energy bill back from the dead and put it before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. (Ouch.)

There is some hope on the horizon. Our favorite Republican John McCain (oh, why isn't he our president?) and his buddy across the aisle, Joe Lieberman, have reintroduced their climate stewardship act proposal, and Rep. Senator Chuck Hegel of Nebraska (yes, the guy who killed Kyoto in '97) has seen the (green) light of potential alternative technologies to address the dark climate future.

Writing in The Economist a few weeks ago, even Brit PM Tony Blair called for the world to rally together to make climate change a priority and pledged to make it one of his chief goals while head of the European Union. Maybe he can cash in his chits with Bush for his support of the latter's war in Iraq and get the U.S. on board. (Don't hold your breath.)

And where are the greenies on this day? They are much too quiet. They should be fanning the embers of this occasion and call for immediate ratification by the world's largest producer of GHGs on the planet. Are they afraid to get snubbed by the media? More likely they just couldn't get their cooperative butts together to make something out of this day. Of course, it could prove the theory that Kyoto doesn't mean much after all; it certainly seemed business as usual across America today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott. You probably saw our Kyoto press release, etc. I was also interviewed for Voice of America.

It's pretty difficult within TNC to do anything as drastic as you suggested in your blog, to call for the US to immediately ratify Kyoto, but I agree that it was much too quiet that day. Where were the Greenpeaces and others? Anyway, I like working for a moderate organization, in part because it does make you look before you leap.

Enjoyed your blog.

Bill S.