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Putin and Kyoto

May 23rd, 2004

The announcement by Vladimir Putin that Russia will move rapidly to ratify the Kyoto treaty, thereby bringing it into force, is encouraging news, though scarcely conclusive. Putin has gone back and forth on this several times before, and it’s not immediately clear what has prompted the latest announcement.

What is obvious is that it’s bad news for Bush and Howard. Putin can scarcely have been unaware of the impact on Bush, and has presumably made the judgement that he’s on the way out, and this judgement may in fact have been one of Putin’s motives for switching sides. Howard, of course, is merely collateral damage.

One good thing about the long delay is that it’s given those who want to do something other than Kyoto plenty of time to put up or shut up. In effect, they’ve done the latter. Both Bush and Howard have gone for business as usual, while alternatives to Kyoto like the McKibbin-Wilcoxen Proposal have gone nowhere. It’s Kyoto or nothing, and I certainly hope it will be Kyoto.

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  1. gordon
    May 24th, 2004 at 14:47 | #1

    If Russia ratifies I believe the provisions for carbon credit trading will be triggered. Many people have, of course, seen this as a potential gold mine for the Russian Govt. The ACF has supported the creation of an internal Australian carbon trading market for some time, as an alternative (I think) to a carbon tax. Whether we have an internal or external market (or both?), the Australian Govt. will need to set some kind of cap or target on Australian emissions – over to you, John (or maybe Mark?)

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