The Kyoto Protocol is a symbolically important expression of governments' concern about climate change. But as an instrument for achieving emissions reductions, it has failed. It has produced no demonstrable reductions in emissions or even in anticipated emissions growth.Yes, it may have not affected emissions. But that was not the governments' concern. Their concern was to get the sympathies of European electorates (and the energy industry, but that is another matter). And they succeeded beyond expectations thanks to the US not signing the agreement. European politicians have used this fact to feed and benefit from the anti-Americanism of the European electorate. European voters come home believing that they and their politicians make such a nice bunch compared to the American inferior race. I say they because I am European but not a voter and not a xenophobe. And of course they do not care the least about how much carbon emissions have increased. They just want to feel good. And they succeed.
October 30, 2007
The success of the Kyoto Protocol
Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner write in Nature: