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Kyoto Protocol Comes Into Force 1336

Posted by Zonk
from the better-to-use-this-than,-say,-tcp/ip dept.
Cally writes "The controversial Kyoto Treaty regulating CO2 emissions finally comes into force today. The BBC has several stories and backgrounders, and notes that international pressure is now mounting on the USA to take action as well, as the scientific consensus is well established. A key question is whether the US economy will benefit relative the rest of the world, with some arguing that new technologies such as clean power generation and energy efficient appliances will provide an economic boost."
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Kyoto Protocol Comes Into Force

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  • Smoke Screen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fishdan (569872) * on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:34AM (#11687813) Homepage Journal
    Part of what is supposed to make Kyoto work is that there will be a big market and alot of money to be made in the buying/trading/selling of carbon emissions. Morning Edition had a great story on the economic backbone of Kyoto [npr.org] but it won't be online till after 10:00am EST. If such a market develops and there are fortunes to be made, you can be sure the Americans will come. If it turns out to be an economic disaster, they won't.

    The basic American claim that the treaty is unjust towards wealthier nations, while benefits countries like China and India, is true. There can be no argument that the US would be restricted much more than the #2 consumer of petroleum, China, under Kyoto. The question is, can the will of the world force the US into a position that it views as unjust towards itself? It's a thorny one, but recent history suggest that the United States will not be swayed by foreign legislation. Thus the financial incentive is the best hope of Kyoto ever being ratified by the US.

    If Europe wants the US to ratify Kyoto, all they have to do is make the dollars and common sense will follow. One side is right here, and one side isn't. If Europe is right, and this does create a financial windfall, the US will follow. If the US is right, and Europe's economy suffers greatly, they will withdraw from Kyoto.

  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:38AM (#11687847)
    "as the scientific consensus is well established."

    This is pure FUD. The scientific consensus, if anything, is that the models currently used for global warming don't backdate, that global warming seems to be more natural than man-made, and that it seems odd that the data shows temperature increases dating back to before the Industrial Revolution, when for all intents and purposes human emissions were nil. You can't cite one highly suspect website and make up the claim that there's a "consenus" where none exists in your favor. This isn't science, it's feel-good eco-politics.

  • by Underholdning (758194) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:38AM (#11687848) Homepage Journal
    How do you guys think the US would have reacted if the situation was turned around? (I.e. the US was pro-Kyoto).
  • by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:42AM (#11687884) Journal

    Looking at the question of 'will USA gain a relative economical advantage' is missing the point - it IS clear that there are certain economic disadvantages

    Agreed, and I feel that the economic disadvantages have been grossly overstated: for example, a pundit on the BBC suggested that with Kyoto compliance it would take the UK until 2056 to achieve the same level of prosperity it would otherwise attain in 2053. I suspect there's grounds for error there, but that it's not far from the truth.

  • Re:Smoke Screen (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:45AM (#11687912)
    That's just great. The US will keep polluting the world while other nations take the risk of damaging their economies in an attempt to save everyone from catastrophic environmental changes, but when the risk is gone the US will be on which ever side is making the money. May tornadoes, floods and ice storms devastate your land in ever increasing numbers and strength. Fucking egoists.
  • Re:US economy? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by cartzworth (709639) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:50AM (#11687960) Journal
    ...and it would rape the US economy.

    I'm glad we're not involved.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:52AM (#11687973) Homepage

    US People => Tend to recycle, some buy hybrids and other good cars (some do buy SUVs though). So overall just people and in some cases pretty damned good.

    US Legislature => A bunch of lazy pork riddled morons whose whole aim in life is to reject anything that comes from abroad and do what ever big business wants

    US President => Commander in Chief of the "not invented here" syndrome: International Criminal Court (bad), UN (bad), Chemical and biological non-proliferation treaty (bad), Geneva Convention (bad), Kyoto (bad), Steel Tarifs (good) etc.
  • Re:US economy? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:52AM (#11687974)
    You've got the problem wrong. "Developing' countries are complying, in the manner set down in the treaty. For instance, under the terms of the treaty, China and India do not have to cut any emissions until 2012. It's like running a marathon, but the rules say that the 2nd and 3rd fastest guys are given an automatic 5 mile head start. They're just playing by the rules.

    Fair?

  • by antic (29198) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:54AM (#11687985)
    FWIW, pressure is also mounting on the Australian Prime Minister to ratify the protocol.

    He is arguing that "it would be against the national interest for Australia to sign the Kyoto protocol on climate change". (quote from ABC.net.au)

    "Until such time as the major polluters of the world - including the United States and China - are made part of the Kyoto regime, it is next to useless and indeed harmful for a country such as Australia to sign up," he said.

    The headline for the article on the ABC site is "Signing Kyoto virtually worthless: PM".
  • Re:Screw Kyoto (Score:5, Interesting)

    by killbill! (154539) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @09:57AM (#11688013) Homepage
    So called "Developing nations" dont have to conform to it. China the 2nd largest economy and our #1 economic competitor is a "Developing" nation? That just doesn't make sense.

    Indeed, it doesn't. Your #1 economic competitor is not China, it's the European Union (actually, the US isn't even the world's #1 economy any more, the EU is).

    You should ask yourself why the EU is the main driving force behind Kyoto. Maybe because they found out Kyoto would actually be a boon to their economy?
  • Much like sushi... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by http101 (522275) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:02AM (#11688041) Homepage
    ...its all in the presentation. If the C02 campaign is met with hostility, typical human reaction is to 'follow suit'. However, if its greeted with acceptance and change, I don't think the American economy would suffer. I believe what we're looking for is the "magic pill" to make all our problems go away - in this case, there is no magic pill. We have generations of abuse to clean up and may take just as long as it did to mess this environment up in the first place! Granted, our kids may not have it easy, but if we start soon and work hard at it, we can leave them a world slightly cleaner than what we had.

    I've been living in Houston, Texas for quite some time and only recently, have I actually started feeling the effects of the environment. I've noticed it to be warmer than usual, the air has a funny undertone to it, and I've been having various respiratory problems.
  • Re:Smoke Screen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jb_nizet (98713) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:08AM (#11688093)
    There can be no argument that the US would be restricted much more than the #2 consumer of petroleum, China, under Kyoto

    Hmmm. There is a strong argument: if the climate is changing now, it's because of the high CO2 emissions during the whole 20th century. And most of the CO2 emissions of the 20th century came from the US, Europe, and other industrial countries: not from China or India. US has to make more efforts now because it has polluted much more in the past.

  • by nutznboltz (473437) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:10AM (#11688121) Homepage Journal
    Energy usage is a personal thing too you know. You can bitch about the US dragging it's collective feet but my feet are moving now. My electrical consumption in 2001 was 13 MEGA Watt/hours. By 2004 I was down to 2/3rds of that (8.7 MW/h) and is still falling. Every year my energy footprint shrinks as I replace old 80's clunker appliances with new Energy Star ones.

    How much brains does it take to spend at little more on an appliance when you can see that it will save you over the long haul? The funny thing is the price of that 13 MW/h was $887.00 while the 8.7 MW/h was $815.53. That's not 1/3rd less.
  • Re:Smoke Screen (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fishdan (569872) * on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:12AM (#11688146) Homepage Journal
    Haven't read the treaty eh?

    The US objection to the treaty is not that there are restrictions, but that the restrictions are applied unevenly. According to what the Bush administration has said, if China and India et al were held to the SAME standard as the US, France, Germany etc, then the US would have ratified the treaty.

    That's my definition of just -- everyone is treated equally

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:17AM (#11688196)
    Keep in mind that if it worked, someone would have attempted it.
    Not if they're going to get sent to jail for trying to!

    Ironic that, and you link to some idiot pseudo-libertarian to justify that argument. You'd think he could at least pretend to be a libertarian for the sake of this discussion ("We could have all the energy etc we need if it wasn't for big gubmint"), but coming from Qualcomm's chief apologist it's not entirely surprising. And anyway, allowing people to grow and eat things is a left libertarian stance, and pseudo-libertarians have difficulty with that whole 'left' thing.

  • by MetaPhyzx (212830) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:21AM (#11688233)
    Kyoto isn't as simple as "Let's stop polluting, and redo our entire infrastructure." There's other considerations regarding the treaty as well, that most people don't hear about (There was a good deal on NPR about it this morn).

    When people think about the cost of beginning down this road, they look at the economic pain versus the reward. Well, there's a reason they say you have to spend money to make money. With Kyoto, you *could* be making money on top of spending it and coming out. For instance, emissions trading(and this was outlined on NPR this morning, and for the life of me, I dont understand WHY it doesn't get more play).

    What is emissions trading?

    Emissions trading works by allowing countries to buy and sell their agreed allowances of greenhouse gas emissions.

    Highly polluting countries can buy unused "credits" from those which are allowed to emit more than they actually do.

    After much difficult negotiation, countries are now also able to gain credits for activities which boost the environment's capacity to absorb carbon.

    These include tree planting and soil conservation, and can be carried out in the country itself, or by that country working in a developing country.


    By investing in the infrastructure of developing nations (building plants, utilizing other technologies in India, China and the like) and "helping" them along the path of better energy management and minimizing environmental impact, rich nations can take advantage of this in a big way and lessen the economic hit, WHILE improving thier own infrastructure. Eventually we're gonna have to get on board, would you want to get on board once all the good opportunities to take advantage of this are gone?

    It's been argued that what we do best here in the US is innovate; the key then becomes ratifying the treaty and investing more in R and D and technologies that will maximize our energy usage and minimize environmental impact. If it means we pay a little more, so be it. It also requires forward leaning leadership to do this; there's going to be more than one energy lobby group screaming about it. That's is the piece we're missing in the US to make this happen.

    For those that are "security minded", taking advantage of Kyoto now over the next 15 years will do more for US national and economic security than any projection of force or diplomatic posturing.
  • by jameszhou2000 (811168) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:23AM (#11688261)
    To US, this treaty could only make American people to use less luxury.

    To China, this treaty could make people starve.

    Now China becomes a good excuse for the states?
  • Re:only scientists (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeB123 (859938) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:24AM (#11688281)
    Trusting people who have MBA's? Obviously all those with MBA's who ran or observed Enron got a free pass that day! In fact there is an amazing level of consensus as far as global warming is concerned, and the differences within the mainstream scientific community are about levels of dgree, not whethr humans are causing the warming in the first place. The problem with relying on the judgment of those in the business community is that they are in the business of making a profit, and often this makes them take a short-term view, especially where it may harm profits. However, there are many business leaders who are pushing for change, and many who will support them (such as the Rocky Mountain Institute), who see increased efficency and better ways of doing things as positive for business, as well as the planet. Pollution is waste, the cost of which is largely externalised to the rest of us. The US economy actually has the capacity to not only absorb costs from following Kyoto, but actually make a profit from it. Lomborg and his ilk have been shown to be wrong in their views, so lets look at what should be done, not why it cant .
  • by jameszhou2000 (811168) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:33AM (#11688361)
    you may forget that chinese people do not have a high quality of life.

    most products they manufacture are not for themselves. in another words, a large portion of chinese people are working FOR America.

    when US outsourced manufacturing jobs to China, the pollution is also transferred there.

    now, suddenly China becomes an excuse for the richest country - US?

    what a good excuse!
  • by fygment (444210) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:33AM (#11688363)
    Don't you wonder about motives? So to whos profit is it to buy in to Kyoto? (Sadly, in this world that is the only real question.)

    a) + Public perception - Politicians seen as being environmentally proactive ergo more votes.
    b) + Public perception - Big business moves unsightly production plants offshore allowing them to look squeaky clean at home. Ergo profit.
    c) + Public perception - Big business has valid excuses to move into 3rd world countries. It is no longer about cheap labour, it is about saving the atmosphere. Ergo profit.

    Is there anything beyond Public Perception?

    a) Permanent solution - NO. As human population grows so will its effect on the environment. Kyoto is a delaying tactic environmentally BUT a profitable one.
    b) Near term solution - NO. Will any nation HAVE to reduce its greenhouse gas production? No. Many have promised but a change in administration can easily bring about a cessation of participation.

    Irony - The only really honest players have been the U.S. They are clearly worried about economic impact and see that as having a higher priority than the atmosphere. You may not like it but you know where they stand. As for the others, do you really believe their stated motives? If so, see above para.

  • by danharan (714822) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:33AM (#11688366) Journal
    Last night on CBC's The Hour [www.cbc.ca], I believe David Suzuki came out and called the US a rogue nation.

    This is a fair reflection of the developing consensus around the world. This has been especially notable after the US failed to support a world court.

    What's most bizarre is that the US will end up losing out because of this. Japan is becoming a leader in solar, Germany and Denmark for wind. As prices become competitive against even natural gas, they will gain a tremendous advantage.

    There are other examples, but those are just the most obvious. So much for another American century...
  • by kubrick (27291) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:33AM (#11688367)
    The other funny thing is that John Howard is claiming that Australia has met all of its targets under the Kyoto treaty. IIRC, that would be because his Minister for the Environment threw a big tantrum during the negotiation and threatened to walk out unless Australia was allowed to increase its emissions by 10% over the time in question...
  • Re:Smoke Screen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by guet (525509) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:37AM (#11688411)
    That's my definition of just -- everyone is treated equally

    oh, well since that's your definition of just, perhaps you'd like your country (and the rest of the 1st world) to stop imposing tariffs on incoming agricultural, steel and other products, to stop demanding that drugs which could save millions are sold at exorbitant prices in the 3rd world, and to cancel the loans made after the colonial period which are leaching away the little money third world countries have?

    Or perhaps you want to be treated 'equally' when it suits you?

    The world is currently structured in a very unfair way; any truly fair system will therefore be skewed towards those nations who are historically disadvantaged. The reason for involving China et al just now is to get them to the point where they can start to cut pollution, and since they'll be within the system, it'll be easier to persuade them to take the next step.

    Frankly I think the non-ratification of the treaty has a lot more to do with the unilateral go it alone against the world spirit of the current administration, along with fear of Chinese (and to a lesser extent Indian) domination of the global economy, than with any so-called concept of 'justice'.
  • by uberotto (714173) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @10:57AM (#11688587)
    India, China and Brazil are involved in Kyoto. They have an exemption until 2012, after that they are required to begin cutting emmisions.

    However, I've been reading several news stories lately about China already putting in place several projects to cut current Greenhouse Gas emissions. They've recently cancelled many Government projects due to environmental concerns.

    According to Greenpeace China's campaign director Lo Sze Ping, "[the] observation is that, compared with the 1980s, 1990s, the Chinese government's position has changed. They can now see their share of responsibility and they are working very hard."

    Last month, the State Environment Protection Administration suspended 30 large construction projects, including the five-billion-dollar Xiloudu hydropower plant, for failing to get environmental impact assessments approved.

    It seems that many of the leading Chinese scientist agree that Global Warming is a major concern and the Chinese Government is listening to what they have to say. The government also believes that by cutting their own emissions they will have more "credits" to sell to other countries. In other words, the Chinese government has come to the conclusion that they can improve long term growth and profit by "being green".
  • by tgibbs (83782) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:00AM (#11688622)
    I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had

    Michael Crichton is a pretty decent novelist, but this is a strikingly dumb remark. No, the consensus is not always right. It's easy to think of occasions when the scientific consensus was dramatically wrong--easy because it is unusual enough that it stands out in memory. Most of the time, the consensus is generally pretty much on track. And usually, when the consensus has turned out to be way off, it was because the consensus was not based upon evidence, but upon an unchallenged assumption propounded by some scientific eminence or derived from religious dogma.

    If one looks at the history current consensus on global warming, on the other hand, it is not something that scientists were predisposed to believe. Rather, it is a view that scientists were once skeptical of, but to which they have been slowly won over, one by one, by the steady accumulation of more and more convincing observational and historical data, as well as the convergence of theoretical predictions of climatic models based often on quite different assumptions.
  • Re:Consensus Science (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ed_Moyse (171820) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:03AM (#11688644) Homepage
    Firstly, humans aren't special. Clearly it *is* from a *scientific* point of view possible to "improve" the human race by selective breeding. So, you have not proven that the science was bad, merely that when science is applied without recourse to morality, or without carefully consideration of what "improve" really means, then we have a disaster on our hands. The same could be said of atomic bombs, GM etc. It has bugger all to do with whether the science is correct.

    Now, I agree that science has inertia, and if you have a different view from the majority of scientists in your field then you may well be ignored/laughed at ... whatever. It's human nature, and it's a reasonable response to the number of cranks who think that THEY and only THEY have seen why Einstein is wrong, and why THEIR wonderful new theory explains everything. I work at CERN. We get this. But if you have PROOF then eventually you will swing the consensus ... scientists in their hearts are interested in the truth. See Einstein and Special Relativity for example - he was a typical crackpot (a patent clerk, with crazy ideas) but in the end his predictions matched reality just too well.
  • Re:Smoke Screen (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fishdan (569872) * on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:12AM (#11688719) Homepage Journal
    Like many people here, I am a libertarian [lp.org] thus I definitely am opposed to ALL tariffs, both American and foreign, because I believe in complete free trade, not state imposed regulations.

    Regarding drug costs in the 3rd world, you think the US legislates that? Those are corporations who are making those choices. I personally support India, which does not honor patents on medicine. I believe medical patents are murder, so I think we agree there as well

    You wrote...any truly fair system will therefore be skewed ...

    We fundamentally disagree here. For me any fair system will NOT be skewed. That is really my definition of fair -- the field is level for everyone, rich and poor, strong and weak. Do the strong win more often than the weak? Yes, if they lost more, they would be the weak.

  • by scrout (814004) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:40AM (#11688920)
    Funny how anything that could hurt the USA is fairly popular. Kinda like the UN.
    And hey, 10 out of 10 scientists that want to make a statement about global warming agree....

    Look, if you are not a practicing climatologist, being a scientist gives you no more credibility on Kyoto and global warming than me, who knows more about parents basement climates and has consensus on many IT and pron issues.
  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles@jones.zen@co@uk> on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:49AM (#11689003)
    Europe isn't a country.

    Each country has pledged a given reduction target. Japan doesn't even think they can meet their target but at least they're willing to try.

    Kyoto is a joke simply because of your unwillingness to change.

  • by hachete (473378) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:56AM (#11689068) Homepage Journal
    always slightly worried about the waste by-products of nuclear power stations, over and beyond the stuff they use for nuclear bombs. With a half-life of how long? Thousands of years? Millions? Would you like a radioactive waste dump on your door-step?

    If the nuclear waste disposal problem was solved, then I'd be all for nuclear energy.
  • Canadian Dilemma (Score:2, Interesting)

    by prezninja (552043) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:31PM (#11689444) Homepage

    An issue nicely summarized in the article:

    "Canada, one of the treaty's first signatories, has no clear plan for reaching its target emission cuts. Far from cutting back, its emissions have increased by 20% since 1990."

    So how are we (Canadians) going to get every Canadian person and business to reduce their emissions by 20% in 7 years? And Japan is "unsure" about 6%? I'm not saying that this is a bad thing, I'm all for each individual sucking it up and unselfishly changing their lives.

    But really, how will we do it? Strick laws? Penelty/Reward programs? Tax deductions for extremely compliant citizens? And what about the impact of a 20% reduction of emissions on the economy? Likely quite huge!

    Lots of questions and doubt in the mind of many Canadians, I'm sure. But no need to worry so much, fellow Canadian, because you can take comfort in the fact that we have "NO CLEAR PLAN"!

  • by Jerry (6400) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:40PM (#11689558)
    Hardly. The Globe is warming, but the reasons are not those supported by left wing pundants, whose only solution to anything is Socialism... government control over everyone's lives.

    The "scientific" study used 5 years ago to support the the Kyoto conference has been shown to be sham, with cooked and trimed data and faulty conclusions. Using computer models to predict weather 50 years in advance, a task Dr Loranze proved to be impossible for times extending beyond a week into the future, is not science, it's propaganda. This is especially true when one considers that constants in the models are chosen specifically to give the desired results. Even when you use 7 such models and and average them the results are no better. If it were, then Meteorologists could forcast storm locations for the coming summer and give residents advanced warnings. In fact, they can't even accurately predict if the rain front passing through the county next to yours will drop rain on your house.

    Volcanoes, cows and the biosphere inject many times more CO2 into the atmosphere than human activity does, and water vapor is 7 TIMES the green house gas that CO2 is.

    There is better correlation between the current global warming and Solar activity. Historical data indicates this phenomenon is a cyclic event and we just happen to be on the crest of a hot cycle. Three hundred years ago there was a mini ice age and London had no summer. Were the left wing pundants around then they would have been screaming their heads off about "Nuclear Winter", just as they were doing 30 years ago. Notice, their solutions 30 years ago are the same they offer today.... a modern version of East Germany.
  • by jameszhou2000 (811168) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:47PM (#11689622)
    regarding the industrial outsoucing problem, how about re-calcuate the emissions based on the companies and their home country?

    say, if Dell moves its manufacturing lines to China, the emissions produced by Dell in China should be counted as US's emissions since Dell's headquarter is in US.
  • ad-hominem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by simpl3x (238301) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:08PM (#11689867)
    "Crichton then goes on to make the classic error of confusing 'weather" and "climate.'"

    I had read their responses to Crichton several weeks ago, and nothing seemed "ad-hominem." These are detailed rebuttals to fiction. Whereas the non-detailed fiction is not supported by real science. It's sad when biographies matter more than the science, but your response is hollow. Can you site an scientists working with conflicting models of climate?
  • by gnuman99 (746007) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:28PM (#11690129)
    "Canada, one of the treaty's first signatories, has no clear plan for reaching its target emission cuts. Far from cutting back, its emissions have increased by 20% since 1990."

    Canada is one of the largest CO2 sinks in the world. There are also talks now in Canada to require cars to reduce CO2 emissions by a significant factor (25%? forgot exact number) by 2010.

    As to countries like China or India, well, in the future there could be a polution tax imposed on goods imported from those countries. Furthermore, didn't China announce that they are switching to nuclear power?

    Anyway, it is about time that polution is finally starting to become part of the cost to the consumer/producer. As soon as you impose the cost of the waste to the producer/consumer, they tend to make environmentally and economically sound decisions.

  • by Dagowolf (646208) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @02:13PM (#11690723)

    By default a regulation on domestic aviation would extend to most, but not all of course, of the international aviation. Why, well let's look.

    Airline A flies only routes within the continental United States and they fly a Boeing 787 due to high demand on that route (this isn't that far fetched since the 787 is a 767 replacement). The 787 is capable of international flight, so the emission limitations that are on the domestic 787 will be on the international 787 as well. Therefore Airline B that flies exclusively international travel will be restricted by Kyoto by default. This same thing is true of Airbus aircraft. There are the two largest commercial aviation producers, and their aircraft that are designed for both domestic and international flights.

    Sure, some airlines will move their less efficient aircraft to international routes, but how long will that last before they are replaced due to the high fuel costs of flying these gas guzzlers? I would wager not long.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @02:53PM (#11691198)
    There are reasons as to why some of the countries in the Kyoto treaty are finding it difficult to cut emissions: They haven't got much to cut. Here in Finland we have had strict rules on industrial pollution for wuite a while now, and now that they would need to cut emissions, they have little from which to cut. They must resort either to buying emission quotas from other companies, or to very expensive means of reducing pollution. This will undoubtedly hurt them economicly and help other competing businesses.

    This has been discussed in the media quite a lot, and pretty much everyone knows about this. Then, why do most of Finns support the treaty? They know it will hurt Finnish businesses and the whole economy of the country as well.

    There is the main difference between the American and the European thinking. Yes, it WILL hurt the economies of the countries involved. But the europeans are still willing to do it, since it WILL help the future of everyone, even if they have to be on the payers side of the fence.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @04:10PM (#11692165)
    Clean technologies will definitely bring change to the economy and riches to those who implement them - but that's exactly why the Cheney gang does NOT want this to happen - the money woudn't be going into the same pockets anymore. And that's the whole point behind basically everything the Bush administration does.
  • by adijedi (689329) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @04:27PM (#11692392)
    Folks, with tolerance do note that about 700 yrs ago Mr. Earth was several degrees warmer than it is now. We are at present in a mini ice age. For the science challenged and to wit reference Jame's B.'s original "Connections" on how climate change effected the 13-14 centuries, and indeed look up the fact that one major volcanic eruption, like Mt. St. Helens, puts more "global warming" gasses into the atmosphere than all the autos in the last century. A warmup of several degrees is inevitable, as is another ice age. Global warming is as natural as global cooling.
  • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @04:30PM (#11692427)
    Ah but there are loads of things that they could do but won't because politicians in Canada are a bunch of puppets:
    -Make Gas with Methanol for Cars madatory (cost $0)
    -Or tax Gas with Methanol less than gas without (Cost 0$)
    -Make license plates for SUVs and Trucks cost more according to their age. (Cost: Profit center!)
    -Make cheap wasteful appliances illigal (Cost $0) -Mandate that all new Gov. fleet cars be hybrids of better (Cost: $0)
    -Allow farmers to collect Methane gas from animal waste so that then can burn it and make electricity.(Cost 0$)
    -Allow Pig farmers to put animal waste in this machine http://www.changingworldtech.com./what/index.asp [www.changi...ldtech.com] to make oil and electricity.(Cost 0$)
  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @04:42PM (#11692562) Homepage
    Are you twice as happy with an SUV as you would be with a car that consumed half as much gas? Are you one quarter as happy if somebody switches all the bulbs in your house with CFLs? No. Limiting energy usage doesn't necessarily require lowering your standard of living. If I build a machine that can do the same job as the old one, but use a quarter the energy to do so, I've *raised* the standard of living by making the overall economy more efficient.

    Oh, and it's "ridiculous", not "rediculous". If we'd just taken the money we'd spent on failed attempts to educate you,
  • by cliffski (65094) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @06:14PM (#11693567) Homepage
    Nice. Yet another pro nuclear post that glosses over the waste issue. If nuclear was efficient economically (nope) and safe to proliferate the tech(nope) and not risky(nope) and wasnt a security risk(nope) then you still have radioactive waste to store for thousands of years.
    You volunteering your backyard?
  • by ChipChat (836864) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @07:22PM (#11694360)
    I see lots of strong opinions posted here, but how many of the posters have actually read the Kyoto Protocol? Of those that have read it, how many have studied it to a point of understanding it? Does anybody on this thread actually know what they are talking about? KYOTO PROTOCOL TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE [unfccc.int]
  • by njh (24312) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @07:54PM (#11694699) Homepage
    "I know people who use the 4WD on an SUV frequently."

    So what? I know people who don't even own a car. They go camping.

    Your argument appears to be "The USA is not wasteful of energy because there exists a person who drives and SUV to go camping." Pretty weak. Does this person only use their SUV for driving to camping? Could they hire an SUV for the trip?

    Maybe you're bringing too much stuff when you go camping? When I go camping I can carry everything I need on my back. Car camping is for wusses.

    I'll tell you where the US wastes energy: supporting a superficial consumerist society - spreading everything out so much you have to drive everywhere; having a culture that chooses cheap disposable over well made long life products, and which silently approves of and even promotes profligate consumption.
  • by susano_otter (123650) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @08:17PM (#11694929) Homepage
    Ah, but the Geneva Convention is completely different.

    To paraphrase: "It's best if opponents in a war adhere to some basic ground rules of humanity and decency. However, there's no practical way to enforce such rules. Instead, the Geneva Signatories agree to adhere to such rules. The penalty for breaking the rules is that your opponent is now also allowed to break the rules--against you, the instigator--without fear of censure or retaliation by the other Geneva Signatories. You don't like it? Don't break the rules. Oh, and it should be obvious that non-signatories are entitled to No Geneva Protection At All."

    It is, in fact, a core principle of the Geneva Convention that Signatories are entitled to retaliate IN KIND against terrorist attacks, nuclear/chemical/biological attacks, attacks against civilian populations, assassinations, torture of POWS[1], etc.

    And at the same time, the Convention places no restrictions on initiating such attacks against non-Signatories (although other treaties and basic human decency may do so).

    In fact, the Saddam Regime, not being Signatory to the convention, was a legitimate target for U.S. nuclear attacks, under the Geneva Convention.

    The Convention was designed to encourage civilized nations to fight limited wars that both sides could conceivably recover from, once peace had been reestablished. Those who would prefer a "no holds barred" approach to warfare should expect no coverage from the Convention. Likewise, Signatories are not restricted by the Convention when warring with non-Signatories.

    In reality, of course, the U.S. has been remarkably restrained, when measured against what both the spirit and the letter of what the Geneva Convention requires.

    Personally, I think the Geneva Convention is an excellent treaty. I'm quite glad that the U.S. is signatory to it, and I believe it should be a model for other treaties.

    Perhaps a "Kyoto Convention", that promoted good behavior amongst signatories, while promising non-signatories nothing more than a sharp stick in the eye, would make more sense.

    On the other hand, maybe not. Nobody wants to be the first person to start playing nice. There's no way the U.S. (or China, or India, or Brazil, or anybody else) is going to seriously cripple their own economy unless they have some reasonable assurance that all the other nations will also scale back their economies, to preserve the relative status quo of geopolitical power.

    Since the Kyoto Protocol explicitly promises the exact opposite: certain nations get a free pass, while others must scale back to some degree, the agreement was never going to get full support.

    (And what the hell kind of plan is that, anyway? The world will suddenly become a happy place full of flowers and cheerful songs, once China becomes the dominant economic power--and the dominant polluter--in the world? Do you really think the Chinese government will be more sympathetic to the demands of the global environmentalists than the U.S. government is?)

    ==========
    [1] Now, I'm not a big fan of torture, Geneva-sanctioned or not, and I think it's one of those things that shouldn't be indulged in even when permitted by the Geneva Convention. My point is, the Geneva Convention does permit torture against non-signatories. It also permits torture against signatories who first violate the Convention. In fact, it even permits torture against signatories who haven't violated the Convention, with the caveat that they are then free of their Convention commitment to not practice torture against you.
  • by jlanthripp (244362) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @11:07PM (#11696186) Journal
    When talking about a planet that's BILLIONS of years old, 3 warm winters doesn't even amount to statistical noise. Talk to an actual climatologist someday; you may learn a thing or two.

    And a libertarian is the polar opposite of a "bleeding heart", at least with regards to economics and your right to do whatever you want to do with something you own (like, say, land). ...or have I been trolled?

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. -- Francis Bacon

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