Call it Rathodics, Rathodology, Rathod-gineering, or Rathodistry; chances are high that you will find lot of useless things on this blog. Nevertheless, I thank you for visiting my blogsite, and hope you spend sometime reading the blogs and commenting on them. Further, you can visit me at http://www.unm.edu/~srathod

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Kyoto Protocol

Finally, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol came into effect on Wednesday, requiring the participating countries to cut back emissions by 2012 to 5.2% of the 1990 levels. Many of the European Union nations have been reducing industrial emissions by employing better methods, even before the treaty came into effect a couple of days ago.

However, notable mention in the treaty is the refusal of the US and Australia to ratify the treaty. It should be observed that US produces more than 25% of the world's greenhouse gases. China comes a distant second. One of the reasons which US and Australia give is that the cutback clause did not apply to India and China. India and China account for less than 12% of the world's greenhouse gases emissions. In such a situation, it would be worthwhile to note what the editorial in the Thursday issue of TOI says:

"...It is facile to lay the blame for global climate change entirely on smokeemitting choolas and methane-expelling animal-waste fuels in the Indo-Gangetic plain, which are at any rate more environment-friendly than energy-guzzling electric appliances and heavy industry..."

According to US, the long-term benefit from the Kyoto climate treaty won't be worth the immediate economic cost. Wouldn't it be a good idea, if even companies started thinking this way? Make hay while the sun shines. Who cares about long-term prospects of the companies? Make money, even though that would imply short-term success, but long-term failure. Is that what they teach at Harvard and Yale? It says that signing the treaty would slow down their economic growth. It implies that the US agrees that its economic engine is based on employing trade practices, which involves, among other things, polluting the environment. I am not against capitalism, but this is capitalism at its worst.

President Bush says that the harmful effects of carbon dioxide pollutant are yet to be scientifically proved. So, articles in Science and Nature are wrong. And, chances are that such a research won't be completed in US, since all the money goes for defence-related projects.

US says that it is planting trees and preserving forests as carbon sinks. I don't know about the rest of the US, but this is totally contradictory to what I have been observing in my neighbourhood. I have uploaded, on my photolog, two snaps of a street which runs just behind my apartment. One of them was taken 4 years ago, and the other one was taken today. The old one shows the road-divider lined with trees, whereas the new one shows all the trees cut down. Is that the trees plantation drive we are talking about?

Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, argues in the same issue of TOI, when asked about US staying out of the protocol:

"...If we see the developments in American states, from California to New England, if we see the growing commitment of companies for a technology-oriented push, we see it is not a monolithic block. We see it also in the administration..."

Mr. Toepfer, is that the reason, why California did away with a rule to have 100% Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) by 2004? Or, was it just plain old lobbying from this same companies with technology-oriented push? The above example contradicts your statement that the administration is pushing for cleaner technologies.

Ian Campbell, the Environment Minister of Australia, says that Australia is on track to cut emissions by 30%. Then, why not sign the protocol? It isn't asking for anything different. Aha, easier said than done. It's time you practice what you preach.

The plain truth is that these two countries don't benefit anything from signing this treaty, and hence their refusal.


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