Kyoto’s smoke screen

Next year the Kyoto protocol will be an international treaty. For those who heavily lobbied Russia to ratify it, this is cause for celebration. But for most of the world, it is bad news, says Andrei Illarionov, advisor to the president of the Russian Federation. He says the Kyoto protocol is destructive for science and the environment, for public health and safety, for economic growth and for the international fight against hunger and poverty.

Fluctuations in climate have existed for thousands of years, he says:

  • Temperatures were higher in the Roman and medieval "climatic optimums" – periods during which no fossil fuels were burned – than they are today.

  • Historically, global temperatures have varied even more than the 0.6 degrees Celsius reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Furthermore, the Kyoto treaty will wreak havoc on nations around the world:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) provides benefits to humankind through longer growing seasons and more productive agriculture, which would help fight famine; attempting to limit CO2 as outlined in Kyoto would impede the fight against hunger.

  • The 17 pro-Kyoto countries (including developed European nations) have slower economic growth rates than the 11 non-Kyoto countries (including the United States) – 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 3.3 percent.

    Even with Russia on board, the Kyoto treaty will do little considering that 75 percent of the world's CO2 is emitted by countries not subject to Kyoto restrictions, says Illarionov.

    Source: Andrei Illarionov, Kyoto's Smoke Screen Imperils Us All, November 15, 2004,

    For text

    For more on Global Warming: Treaties

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 21 December 2004
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