Salvaging the Kyoto Climate Change Negotiations
The third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in Kyoto in early December. These upcoming negotiations, aimed at reducing future emissions of greenhouse gases, are almost certain to accomplish nothing. Failure is likely because the negotiations are focused on achieving rigid targets and timetables for emissions reductions in spite of the enormous uncertainties surrounding climate change. Even at this late hour, however, the conference could be salvaged. If negotiations could be shifted toward more flexible policies, such as a system of national permits and emissions fees or a reduction in world coal subsidies, the conference could mark the turning point at which climate negotiations evolve from unrealistic posturing toward a realistic framework for slowing carbon emissions
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