Theory and Policy in the Context of EU Enlargement and Economic Transition
- The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by John W. Maxwell and Rafael Reuveny
Chapter 3: You’re Getting Warmer: The Most Feasible Path for Addressing Global Climate Change Does Run through Kyoto
Jeﬀrey A. Frankel When I ﬁrst arrived at the White House in September 1996, I had no idea that one of the issues on which I would spend a great deal of time during my period as a member of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers was global climate change. But Under Secretary of State Tim Wirth had the month before announced a major change in policy: that the United States would in multilateral negotiations now support ‘legally binding’ quantitative targets for the emission of greenhouse gases. This left less than 16 months for the US Administration to decide what kind of speciﬁcs it wanted, at the Third Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scheduled for December 1997 in Kyoto. Because other countries take their cue from the superpower (whether it is to support or oppose US positions), this countdown engendered a certain amount of suspense: what speciﬁcally would the US propose at the Kyoto Conference, most notably regarding how the numerical targets should be determined? Outsiders demanded to know – with particular tenacity in the case of the US Congress, who feared the worst. I was a member of a large inter-agency group that worked intensively on what was to become the Kyoto Protocol. I never thought that the agreement had a large chance of being ratiﬁed by the US Senate or of coming into force in a serious way. There were too many unbridgeable political chasms, as I will...
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