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Fw: [fuelcell-energy] The Years After Tomorrow

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  • P. Neuman self only
    ... From: janson2997 To: fuelcell-energy@yahoogroups.com Date: Mon, 05 Jul 2004 05:25:11 -0000 Subject: [fuelcell-energy] The Years
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 5, 2004
      --------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: "janson2997" <janson1997@...>
      To: fuelcell-energy@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Mon, 05 Jul 2004 05:25:11 -0000
      Subject: [fuelcell-energy] The Years After Tomorrow
      Message-ID: <ccaonn+1npj@egroups.com>

      July 5, 2004
      The Years After Tomorrow


      ASHINGTON � President Vladimir Putin's recent announcement that
      Russia will move to ratify the Kyoto Protocol received little
      attention, but may signal that the agreement will finally become
      legally effective.

      That would be welcome, not because Kyoto is a perfect agreement, but
      because, even with its imperfections, the protocol has several
      elements that will contribute to a sensible long-term solution to
      global warming. Foremost among these is Kyoto's recognition that
      emissions trading � an American invention now embraced by Europe �
      can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions at low cost.

      Still, the six and a half years that have passed since the Kyoto
      Protocol remind us that we have more to do. Progress in the
      international climate negotiations has been painfully slow.

      Waiting to address global warming would be a reckless gamble. If
      present trends continue, greenhouse gas concentrations � during the
      lifetimes of children born today � will reach levels higher than in
      the last 50 million years. The Kyoto Protocol, alone, is not the
      answer. Its limits � requiring industrialized countries to cut
      greenhouse gas emissions roughly 5 percent from 1990 levels � will
      apply to less than half of the world's global emissions, because the
      United States is not participating and major developing countries are
      not covered. And these limits expire in 2012.

      In the next few years it is essential that we shape a new strategy,
      one that should be based on, or informed by, the lessons we have
      learned so far about the difficulty of putting a climate change
      agreement in place.

      One lesson is that finding a consensus among 180 nations is asking
      too much. The obvious fact that we all share one atmosphere led
      nations to try a single global accord, but the differences between
      nations are vast and their leadership shifts over time.

      A second lesson is that, in the United States, domestic consensus
      comes first. International agreements require broad political
      support, which Kyoto has never had. The Bush administration has
      opposed ratification of the treaty, saying that it could hurt the
      nation's economy and noting that countries like China are not covered
      by it. Treaties rarely produce consensus on controversial topics.

      And in the absence of federal limits on emissions, a third lesson has
      surfaced: nature abhors a vacuum, even in the regulatory arena.

      Dozens of states and localities have filled the void, starting their
      own programs to fight global warming, like the regional compact under
      development in the Northeast. In addition, the Republican governors
      of two of the nation's largest states � New York and California �
      support tough measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

      The corporate sector is increasingly stepping forward as well. Under
      the Chicago Climate Exchange, for example, major companies are
      building a market for trading emissions allowances.

      So what next for global warming policy in the United States without
      ratifying Kyoto?

      Federal legislation must be enacted to require mandatory limits on
      heat-trapping gases, to ensure that businesses combat global warming
      in their capital investments and research spending.

      Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman have sponsored an important
      bill on this issue. If history is a guide, many businesses may come
      to prefer uniform federal legislation of this type to an uneasy
      patchwork of state regulatory regimes.

      The United States should also negotiate a trans-Atlantic climate
      trade agreement under which it and the European Union would accept
      binding limits on heat-trapping gases and establish an emissions
      trading program between the two continents. Other countries could
      then opt in to the agreement.

      As part of the accord, the United States and the European Union could
      agree to redirect agricultural subsidies likely to be reduced in
      World Trade Organization negotiations toward environmentally friendly

      The United States should also seek opportunities for bilateral
      climate change agreements with major developing countries, including
      China, India and South Africa, to promote clean energy exports and
      transfer of environmentally friendly technologies. The agreements
      could provide a framework for these countries to participate in
      emissions trading, even at the local level.

      None of these bilateral or regional agreements would replace the
      Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by the first President
      Bush and ratified unanimously by the Senate in 1992, which provides
      an important forum for work on global warming. Instead, these
      agreements would supplement the pact, much as bilateral and regional
      trade agreements supplement the World Trade Organization today.

      Churchill is widely credited with writing: "However beautiful the
      strategy, you should occasionally look at the results." There will be
      many opportunities to evaluate and adjust course in the fight against
      global warming during the decades ahead. Our success will depend on

      Stuart E. Eizenstat was the chief American negotiator for the Clinton
      administration at the Kyoto conference. David B. Sandalow is an
      environment scholar at the Brookings Institution.



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