Shaping The Next Climate Pact

The Kyoto Protocol has not worked as well as hoped. A large majority of the nations signed up for the climate pact are not on target to hit their goals of greenhouse gas emission reductions. In spite of its shortcomings, it’s still viewed as a success because it established an international dialogue and framework to discuss global warming.

It also set the stage for this December when the world will meet to discuss climate change in Copenhagen. With twelve years of experience under the Kyoto Protocol, the world has a better idea as to what works and what doesn’t.

The New York Times reports on some of the changes and issues we can expect in December:

  • The United States would be involved in the negotiation of a new treaty — to be signed in Copenhagen in December — “in a robust way.”
  • It will reach beyond reducing greenhouse gas emissions and include financial mechanisms and making good on longstanding promises to provide money and technical assistance to help developing countries cope with climate change.
  • The effect of a recession: Italy and Canada are already grumbling that it’s difficult to change in a downturn, while other nations say emissions drop because less is being produced. Also, billions in global stimulus plans afford an opportunity to start from scratch and craft clean, responsible industry.
  • Developed countries will like get binding numerical targets, but developing countries, which were exempt under Kyoto, would probably be given less stringent goals. Though they might get long term targets or emission allowance dependent upon economic growth.
  • A more thorough carbon trading scheme. The current system makes “it hard to determine the emissions-reducing value of carbon credit projects, making it easy to game the system.”
  • Broadening what counts towards carbon emissions. It might not just be industrial output but things like aeroplanes as well.


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