On the eve of the 1998 United Nations climate change conference in Buenos Aires, U.S. Senator Robert Byrd sent a letter to President Clinton urging him not to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
Doing so, he said, would not “do more than plug the holes in one end of a leaky boat, while leaving the biggest emitters of the developing world free to drill more holes in the other end of the boat. The net result is the same — we all sink.”
Today we are in a different boat. Next month, ministers from 192 nations will gather in Copenhagen to lay the groundwork for an international climate treaty that will succeed the Kyoto Protocol. There will be a lot of commentary on what Copenhagen means and what it is: I want to tell you what it is not.
Copenhagen is not Kyoto. The most common and widespread criticism of the Kyoto Protocol was that it did not require major developing countries like China and India to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and the burden for reducing emissions fell largely on richer nations, like the United States and the European Union. It was one of the main reasons why the U.S. did not ratify Kyoto.
Those concerns w... Read more