Interests and the Failure of the Kyoto Process
Chapter 3: Energy Interests, Opportunities, and Uneven Burden-sharing
Boehmer 01 chaps 1/10/02 1:44 pm Page 33 3. Energy interests, opportunities and uneven burden-sharing In order to understand why the Kyoto process ran into the sand it is necessary to consider critically what was at stake: how various interests were impacted by the Protocol, what Kyoto sought to achieve, and what the chances were of achieving the commitments contained within it. Kyoto, if ratified, will make very little difference to future accumulation of GHGs and thus the possibility of anthropogenic climate change. However, it is meant to be only a first step, and the need for the other steps leading to very much greater net emission reduction must be considered. Very profound changes in human life styles and consumption patterns would be needed and/or major technological changes world-wide. Who is to accomplish such change in politically acceptable ways and would the benefits be worth the costs and pains? Or is the climate threat intended to be no more than an incentive for these first small steps with unknown regional impacts? One model-based estimate was that by 2100 Kyoto would reduce an increase in mean global temperatures of 2.1°C by a mere 0.2°C – a very small difference indeed. To achieve this insignificant result, it would have shaved perhaps 2 percentage points off growth in GDP in Annex I countries (Annex I includes the industrial nations – essentially the OECD members plus the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc) – a sizable amount over 100 years, and about $250–500...
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