Good and bad news on global warming

The bad news is that Russia has not, as the government previously indicated, ratified the Kyoto protocol and and seems unlikely to do so, although Putin still appears willing to be bought by a sufficiently attractive offer. The combination of Bush and Putin is enough to block the treaty. (The Howard government is the only other remaining holdout, but Australia is too small to tip the balance either way).

The good news is the 55-43 vote on the McCain-Lieberman bill restricting CO2 emissions. Although the bill was defeated, this was scarcely surprising given the opposition of the Administration and the Republican majority. It seems likely, given this starting point, that a pro-Kyoto Administration could secure ratification. In particular, the 97-0 vote on the Byrd-Hagel resolution opposing Kyoto has now been consigned to history.

Meanwhile, nothing much is being done about global warming. Russia’s failure to ratify Kyoto gives those who claim to support action, but oppose the detailed provisions of Kyoto, their chance to do something. In particular, it will be interesting to see whether there is any action on the McKibbin-Wilcoxen proposal. I’m not optimistic. As far as I can see, the vast majority of those who claim to support “something, but not Kyoto” actually want “business as usual”. Still, I’m agnostic about the differences between McKibbin-Wilcoxen and the Kyoto proposal and will be happy to support whichever seems most likely to get up.