Alternatives to Kyoto

While Kremlinology remains a dark art, it now seems unlikely that Russia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol. This means that, barring a reversal by the United States, the Protocol will not come into force. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen before the 2004 election at the earliest.

This is pretty grim news, but I’ll do my best to extract a silver lining from the clouds. A lot of critics of Kyoto, including Bjorn Lomborg and Warwick McKibbin, along with the Australian and US governments have not denied the reality of global warming but have argued that alternative policies could yield better outcomes. Now they have their chance to show that their policies represent both politically realistic and economically and ecologically sustainable alternatives to Kyoto. If governments that have opposed Kyoto are serious about alternatives, this is their chance.

I am not too optimistic about the alternatives – my guess is that, whatever their merits, the governments that have rejected Kyoto will continue with business as usual. But I’d be happy to be surprised.