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The Kyoto treaty

 
 
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 07:27 pm
We digressed on another topic so here's a topic just for the polemic kyoto treaty.

A) did your country sign it?

B) Why not?

C) Was your country justified in it's action?

D) What do you think about the treaty?

Many people claim the treaty was flawed, I'd like to hear what the percieved flaws were.

I think it was flawed in that it didn't make a good distinction between delevoping countries and non-developing countries. This made it harder to stick.
One important point, IMO, is that thoise who dismiss it as flawed rarely suggest an alternative treaty which indicated that the idea and not the details are disagreeable to some.

What I'd do re pollution (from an American position of power).

A) Campaign hard for the treaty (this might be political suicide due to big businesses that hate the idea, they will try to convince Americans that they'll lose jobs etc). The campaign must get out to enough Americans so that the ratification would pass in the senate.

B) Heavily subsidize public transportation in the US. We do very well with smog checks etc but out great dependance on private transportation is a great polluter.

C) Give a grace period to developing countries if they sign. Economic assistance or other carrorts in the implementation of the policies might also be a good idea.

D) Give grants toward the developmet of "green technologies".

E) Take my impeachment gracefully. American industries will hate me by now and the greedy businesses will probably have their way.


Also of note, the military is not popular with the green demographics, I'd not let talk about military exeptions to eco laws take place so quickly after the Kyoto rejection.

Ok, gotta run now, that was disjointed but we'll iron it out later.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 08:02 pm
Well, the US obvioulsy didn't sign it. Any number of reasons were listed I suppose. I wasn't in favor of it overall but I did like some aspects of it.

If it were to arise again I think the drafters need to do a better job of explaining how the formulas are calculated for a start. IMO, that formula should be based on the size of each country, the population, etc.. It has to incorporate all the relevant factors and once it's developed it should apply to every country the same way.

Yes, we do need to work on developing alternative fuels but mass transit isn't going to work in the overwhelming majority of the country and we have alternative sources of energy available to us right now. The eco-nazis are going to have to suck it up too. You can't greatly reduce energy generation from one source without replacing it with another so some rivers are going to get damed up and hydro-power would make a comeback as well as the off-shore and mountian wind farms being built and probably several new nuclear power plants.

And when those plants get built they should be built all over the country and when people start screaming that it shouldn't be in their back yard I'd have their possessions packed up for them and have them forcefully relocated to the worst spot in the country (I hear there are quite a few vacant houses at Love Canal!) and then I'd build the generation facility on what USED TO BE their yard!
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Lash Goth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 08:11 pm
Re: The Kyoto treaty
Craven de Kere wrote:
We digressed on another topic so here's a topic just for the polemic kyoto treaty.

Good topic.

A) did your country sign it? Nope.

B) Why not?
Because it asked us to drastically reduce our energy use, which would change life as we know it, as well as cost American households a bundle to use energy.

Also, because China, fast overtaking America in use, said they wouldn't do it. Most of the other countries in the world were given a pass. (Exact specifics in a following link. The levels Kyoto demands are unreasonable. We might entertain the idea of more reasonable levels.)


C) Was your country justified in it's action?
Yes, IMO. The Senate rejected it 1998 by a 95-5 vote. During the Clinton admin. Interesting remarks on the link to the Kyoto hearing in 1998, on how the Clinton admin. stated the cost was minimal, but refused to release the supportive documents...


D) What do you think about the treaty?
It is LONG. Haven't waded through all of it, but on the bit I have read, I think it is unfair to the US. It has different 'rules' for different countries.

We must address the global environment, but not with unfairness, and not to the detriment of daily life in one or two countries.
Many people claim the treaty was flawed, I'd like to hear what the percieved flaws were.

I think it was flawed in that it didn't make a good distinction between delevoping countries and non-developing countries. This made it harder to stick.
One important point, IMO, is that thoise who dismiss it as flawed rarely suggest an alternative treaty which indicated that the idea and not the details are disagreeable to some.

I would start by leveling the responsibility to ALL nations. I would also look at the top producers of industry (and pollution) and give them a smaller start to convince them to sign on to a more acceptable treaty, without bankrupting them, or severely impacting on their economy. A start is better than a no-starter.

I would educate the public on the global environment, AND the specifics of how the treaty affects us as a country, and how it would affect individuals.
I may call for a referendum from the people.

What I'd do re pollution (from an American position of power).

A) Campaign hard for the treaty (this might be political suicide due to big businesses that hate the idea, they will try to convince Americans that they'll lose jobs etc). The campaign must get out to enough Americans so that the ratification would pass in the senate.

B) Heavily subsidize public transportation in the US. We do very well with smog checks etc but out great dependance on private transportation is a great polluter.

C) Give a grace period to developing countries if they sign. Economic assistance or other carrorts in the implementation of the policies might also be a good idea.

D) Give grants toward the developmet of "green technologies".

E) Take my impeachment gracefully. American industries will hate me by now and the greedy businesses will probably have their way.


Also of note, the military is not popular with the green demographics, I'd not let talk about military exeptions to eco laws take place so quickly after the Kyoto rejection.

Ok, gotta run now, that was disjointed but we'll iron it out later.
Here is the gov's record of the Kyoto hearing.
0 Replies
 
Lash Goth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 08:18 pm
What fishin' said. Exclamation
I don't think anyone has even brought up what will happen to life in the US of A if we were to submit to Kyoto.

The Greenies would be having fits at all the diggin' that would be going on.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 08:39 pm
The goals of the Kyoto treaty were admirable and needed some more thought -- the time table was also unrealistic. One good message in the new auto show in L.A. which is taking place right now is fuel cell automobiles are being introduced and the hybrid cars are doing much better than expected. I don't believe anyone wants to believe that the air and water continuing to become more polluted is going to improve our lives. I don't believe anyone wants to wait for Coast cities to be inundated with water before it's realized the scientists are right. I also don't believe the exagerations of the consequences of requiring industry and the automobile to conform to new standards. It also looks to me like Lash is already prepared for the air pollution!
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Lash Goth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 08:47 pm
Lightwizard--
I was in cognito. But, I'll keep the mask handy, just in case.

I live in the middle of nowhere, and haven't even seen a hybrid, but I would love to own one.
Are they priced comparably to regular cars?

Agree with you about Kyoto. Hope they can work out a better treaty.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jan, 2003 08:50 pm
LW - They just ran a spot on one of the local Boston Channels tonight about a guy that has developed a "bio-diesel" fuel to replace hydro-carbon diesel fuel.

http://www.biodieselnow.com/

It's still expensive gallon-for-gallon compared to gasoline but you can get 70 miles/gallon on it so it balances out in the end. This was the first I'd heard of this particular technology (and it's really pretty low tech) but I like it!
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 12:00 am
Lash, not all countries were created equal, not by a long shot. Treating countries that are still industrializing the same as the most advanced nation on earth is not fair.

fishin'

Why isn't mass transportation workable in the "overwhelming majority" of the country? The only reason I can think of is the car culture. I'll be the first to say I hate using mass transportation but I don't see any reasons to question its viablilty.
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Lash Goth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 12:05 am
Craven--
I should've said 'graded fairness'. Each country has a contribution they can make.

Nobody should get a pass.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 12:23 am
Works for me, I'd do it this way:

Developing countries that get in get tariff reductions as compensation for the dificulty their industries would face to comply with the terms of the treaty.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 01:54 am
Australia did not sign it.

Our government said we were very dependent on fossil fuel and our economy would be badly affected relative to other economies - (I would need to do some research to get more detail) and we are little, although we pollute hugely per capita - possibly even more than the USA - ( but we got mighty few capitas, so we seem to think we oughta be barleys or something) Oh - and I think we said we wouldn't sign if the USA didn't cos that would make it even harder to compete with your subsidised farm products and stuff. And our current federal government sort of got in by saying greenies and multiculturalists and suchlike were bad, so they are unwilling to talk seriously and meaningfully about environmental issues - although we are hoping to make something out of bartering carbon sinks...sigh.

No, I do not think we were justified. This stuff is serious. Even if we do not look beyond our own noses, under some of the predicted scenarios, where I live (South Australia) might become simply economically unfeasible, since a good deal of our economy is dependent on primary produce. We, as a country, are very close to many of the Pacific islands which may disappear with global warming. I presume we would take them in - though, current government policies continuing, I guess we might deport them with every low tide...

If we do not like refugees now - how will we cope with the vulnerable populations of places like Sri Lanka and other low-lying, heavily populated countries?

These are just a few possibilities - there are many more...

I have, I confess, not looked at the treaty in detail - so I probably ought not to comment - however, as I said above, this stuff is serious - if we spend the rest of our lives squabbling about details of this and that - and I take many of the points Craven has made seriously - and never combine as a planet to say, imperfect as the beginnings of action may be, we need to begin the process - then we will still be squabbling in 20 years, and who knows what this will mean for the human - and other - components of the biosphere...

If the industrialized countries are all suffering economically, then I cannot think of a greater boost to the non-polluting or minimally polluting technologies - if public and rail transport is privileged above road and car transport, then those systems cannot but benefit.

I think it is all about beginning to make us understand and experience the REAL costs of differing technologies - instead of living at the end of an economic and practical chain that removes us from the dirty truth.....
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jan, 2003 02:18 am
Bio-diesel invented by a guy?

Bio-Diesel is known at petrol stations here [Germany] since the late 80's.
There are certainly some different kinds of producing it. 90% of Bio-Diesel in Europe is the connediesel®, which is patented since 1990 by German, European and US patents.


I remember, when "they" said more then 30 years ago, public transport would be going down to a minimum - now we even get the old tram lines re-activated (plus lots of nearly forgotten railway lines).

The call-a-ride systems using buses or taxis operate in the evenings and on weekends are a great ssucceseven in smallest towns and rural districts.
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trespassers will
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 03:32 pm
First, then VP, Al Gore, was sent to Kyoto with a unanimous, bi-partisan mandate from the legislature to not accept any climate change agreement that did not require action of all countries. He returned with one that obligated 28 nations to act, and left all others free to do what they wished, including increasing greenhouse emissions.

Second, to even attempt the draconian cuts in CO2 output required under Kyoto would push the US into a severe economic depression, destroying jobs, and plunging huge numbers into poverty.

Third, even some scientists who advocate for Kyoto have acknowledged that they do not believe it has any chance of ameliorating whatever human-induced climate change may in fact be occuring.

====

Now, let's assume that the purpose of the Kyoto accord is to reduce greenhouse emissions. If 28 nations reducing their output by 5% will achieve the intended goal, ALL nations reducing their output by some smaller percentage will achieve the same goal. Why then are we not presented with an equitable alternative to Kyoto that requires action of all nations?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 04:41 pm
Craven de Kere wrote:
Why isn't mass transportation workable in the "overwhelming majority" of the country? The only reason I can think of is the car culture. I'll be the first to say I hate using mass transportation but I don't see any reasons to question its viablilty.


Sorry to take so long to respond to your question Craven! This thread got lost in the sauce and I didn't realize you had asked this until just now.

But.. Mass transit isn't feasible in the majority of the country because there aren't enough users to support it where it makes economic sense. If you but public transit busses in a town of 2,000 people you MIGHT get 1 or 2 riders for each trip around town and running that bus costs more (in both total fuel and the expense of the bus, driver, fuel, etc..) than those 2 people taking a car does. When that happens the schedule gets cut and then even less people use it because there aren't trip frequently enough.

For mass transit to be feasible to need to achieve a "critical mass" of users (hence the "mass" in "mass transit") so that the total cost of operating the system (economic, environmental, etc..) is less than the cost of the people using other transportation. Mass Transit works in NYC, Boston, DC, etc because there are a LOT of users and the hassle of owning/operating a car in those cities makes the trade off worth it.

The overwhelming majority of this country isn't urban area though. It's wide open space between smaller towns where people don't have to pay to park, car insurance is cheap and a "traffic jam" means one of the traffic lights in town isn't working today so the 6 cars at that intersection have to figure out who goes first all by themselves.

Most of the newer large cities aren't built on the same density concept as NYC or LA either. In those cities (i.e. Dallas, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, etc..) Mass Transit doesn't work as well as it does in the denser areas. In Boston the subway system may run a grand total 6 miles end to end to get from one end of the city to the other and there are stops every few hundred yards and several hundred people get on and off during the day (where the subway runs every 8 minutes..). In OKC the subway would have to travel 40 miles to get from end to end and you'd have less than 20 people at each stop. More operating expense, less users. The feasibilty factor drops drastically.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 05:28 pm
It's not so much who signed on the dotted line and who didn't sign. It's about leadership, and how all the countries must come to a final agreement through negotiation. If one is unwilling to discuss the problems of this world, where do we start? When big daddy says he's not going to play by the rules because he doesn't like any part of it, he has ostensibly told everybody else to 'forget it.' If the US doesn't like some parts of the Kyoto Accords, they should attend the meetings and express why it needs to be changed. c.i.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 06:26 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
If the US doesn't like some parts of the Kyoto Accords, they should attend the meetings and express why it needs to be changed.


Can you identify one single international meeting regarding the Kyoto Agreement that the US did not have a represenative present and where the US's views were not expressed?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 06:36 pm
No, I don't. Do you? What were they doing? Sitting on their duffs? Wink c.i.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Jan, 2003 08:25 pm
fishin'

I've used public transportation in the US and it can be suprisingly empty. I wasn't suggesting it could be profitable. I was suggesting that it could be run at a loss and we could stop doing so much to maintain a car culture.

If public transportation were free (initially, then cheap once the idea takes hold) and we didn't go out of our way to keep the prices of gasoline down public transportation use would grow.

It's very hard to survive without your own car in the states (I know, I need to buy one ASAP), if it were more convenient then more could be done to minimize the fuel consumption.

But this is all moot, the car culture is so pervasive that I doubt this will take hold. Even if public transportation were more convenient I'd still prefer to use a car and I bet many of my compatriots feel that way.
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Thok
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 10:44 pm
<bump>

There is a movement on the treaty :

Russia finally backs Kyoto.
Does it matter?


Quote:
It's not enough, but it's a start. Politicians and environmentalists around the world cheered yesterday when after a long period of vacillation, Russia finally moved to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty on countering climate change.

The decision by President Vladimir Putin's cabinet to approve ratification means that the landmark UN agreement, which aims at cutting the greenhouse gases causing global warming, and which was gravely weakened by George Bush's decision to withdrawn the US from it in 2001, is at last likely to enter into legal force some time next year.

It has been an agonising wait for anyone concerned with the climate change threat. The withdrawal of the US, the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter, meant that, under the treaty's terms, ratification by Russia, the next biggest, was essential for it not to fall by the wayside.

For more than a year the Russians have hesitated, weighing up the political and economic pros and cons of ratification, with their every pronouncement on Kyoto examined by environmentalists with the same sort of minute scrutiny Kremlinologists used to apply to political reports inPravda in the days of the Soviet Union.

The vociferous opposition to the treaty, of President Putin's economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov, who thinks it will constrain Russia's economic development, has been contrasted against other more favourable opinions.

Yesterday, however, the Russians finally came off the fence when the Putin cabinet agreed on ratification, and sent their decision to the Duma, the Russian parliament, to be confirmed. As the Duma is largely controlled by Mr Putin's United Russia party, it is thought very likely that this will happen, and that the Russians will ratify some time early in the New Year.

This will pass the threshold for the treaty to enter into force - it needs to be ratified by 55 countries, representing at least 55 per cent of the industrialised world's emissions of greenhouse gases in 1990, to do so - and 90 days later Kyoto will become a legal reality.

Good news for the world? Certainly. Yet it is increasingly recognised that the cuts Kyoto prescribes in greenhouse gases - principally CO2 - difficult though they may have been to agree in the first place, will themselves merely scratch the surface of the climate change problem, and will only have the tiniest effect in the anticipated catastrophic world temperature rise in the coming century.

Tony Blair has recently led the way in calling for massive cuts in CO2 emission of 60 per cent by 2050, and has promised to make new climate change initiatives the policy centrepiece of Britain's chairmanship next year of the G8.

However, had Kyoto failed, the whole international consensus on acting to tackle climate change would have fallen apart with it, and yesterday real delight was expressed around the world that the treaty was back on track.

Margaret Beckett, the Environment Secretary, hailed the Russian announcement and said she hoped to see an early decision by the Duma. "Russian ratification is a vital step forwards for global efforts to tackle climate change. I am delighted by President Putin's decision to send the protocol to the Duma for ratification, and we look forward to a swift decision. It is the right thing for Russia, for Europe, and for the global community, and it is a timely boost for Britain's plans for international dialogue on climate change in 2005."

Greenpeace welcomed the Russian move which, it said, would leave US President Bush facing international isolation over his opposition to the protocol.

"As the Earth is battered by increasing storms, floods and droughts, President Putin has brought us to a pivotal point in human history today," said international climate campaigner, Steve Sawyer. "The Bush administration is out in the cold and the rest of the world's governments can move forward as one to start tackling climate change, the greatest threat to civilisation the world has ever seen."

The Russian decision does indeed leave the US, the world's biggest polluter, looking isolated on the international stage as an environmental sinner.

Major developing nations such as China and India, which are themselves major emitters of CO2, have not yet been brought into the cuts process.

However, Mr Blair has recognised that this is an essential next step if the process is to move forward, and has pledged to begin talks with the Chinese and Indians.

The Russian cabinet's decision to approve Kyoto ratification followed a long tussle at the highest levels of the Russian government, in which international political considerations finally prevailed over practical misgivings.

The Kremlin realised that it could extract a valuable prize in exchange for ratification; EU approval for Russia's entry into the WTO and the promise of a visa-free regime with the 25 nation bloc.

After the appalling way in which the Beslan school siege was handled and vocal western criticism of moves to scrap democratic elections for regional governors in favour of Kremlin appointees, Russia also realised that it needed all the good publicity it could get.


Source
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 30 Sep, 2004 11:37 pm
Thok wrote:

Russia finally backs Kyoto.
Does it matter?


Well, it's a kind of triumph for EU diplomacy, e.g. Australia and the USA are now even more singled out ... and Russia's ratification really is vital to turn the treaty into a working international agreement.
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