Nature: Letting Go of Kyoto

A climate alarmist offers a solution to the failure and coming expiration of the Kyoto protocol.

Elliot Diringer of the now-expired Pew Center on Global Climate Change comments in Nature that the “holy grail” of a binding international commitment ought to be tabled for now in hopes that the world can piecemeal its way back (e.g., the new Australian carbon tax) to such an agreement.

As to Kyoto’s failure, Diringer points to Canada:

A key premise of the Kyoto experiment was that binding international commit- ments would drive national efforts. Yet out- side Europe, where concern about climate change has always run strongest, there is little evidence that this is true. A prime counter example is Canada, where emissions are now 17–30% above 1990 levels (depending on whether land-use emissions are counted), despite a binding commitment to reduce them to 6% below.

Go Canada. Go tar sands. But we digress.

Diringer’s plan sees to be to bore the skeptics and anti-alarmists to death:

In Durban, parties should indeed set their sights towards eventual binding commitments. But they should focus primarily on the more prosaic nuts and bolts of strengthening transparency and support for developing countries. However incremental, such steps will get us further than a recurring cycle of false expectation and failure.


Read Diringer’s Nature commentary.