Sunday, December 12, 2004

Kyoto, 2004

The United States' position on global warming is getting the cold shoulder from the rest of the world as parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (to which the Kyoto Protocol is an amendment) meet in Buenos Aires. The Los Angeles Times has details:

BUENOS AIRES — The United States is the big odd man out as diplomats, scientists and environmentalists from more than 190 countries gather here at the 10th meeting of the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The focus of the convention is the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which mandates reduction of greenhouse gases that cause global warming and will take effect next year.

Discussions of new limits are expected to begin here when official delegations arrive Wednesday, near the end of the 12-day conference.

Among major industrial countries, only the U.S. and Australia have failed to ratify the accord, which commits signatory nations to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other gases to 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012.

Observers here say the U.S. is increasingly being shut out as the rest of the world adopts global mechanisms by which each country will meet its targeted reductions, including one that allows companies to trade reductions in carbon emissions in a kind of global pollution market.

The U.S., which accounts for about a third of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, pulled out of the agreement in 2001.

U.S. officials last week acknowledged a global rise in temperatures caused by human activity but said the increase had not yet reached the "dangerous" levels that equired drastic action.

They reiterated that the Bush administration would not push for U.S. ratification of the accord.

Read the rest here.