What Kyoto Means to the COP21 Climate Summit

Today was the start of a global climate summit called COP21. This climate conference is being hosted by France, in Paris. However, it is the hope of the current American administration, that they will be able to capitalize on something which at the moment seems spine tingling close to be adopted. Namely a global agreement meant to abate climate change. As far as climate agreements are concerned this one would be totally inclusive. Encompassing the ideas of shifting attitudes of climate change, and what to do about them; the idea of bankrolling clean energy alternatives for emerging markets; from more established ones, rainforest preservation, diffusion of clean technologies, carbon taxes, environmental cleanup, and the ubiquitous goal of lowering the temperature of the world by two (2) degrees this century.

Before this conference a similar conference was held in the late 1990’s when then President Bill Clinton attended a summit in Kyoto, Japan. The so called Kyoto Protocols which were manifested during this conference called for similar cuts to the pollutants that chock off, streams, and water ways, in nearly every continent, particularly Asia. It should come as some surprise then that President Clinton never ratified the treaty, and in 2001 President George W. Bush pulled out of the treaty talk’s altogether, thereby abandoning all hope for ideas such as carbon taxes, to take hold here in the U.S. At the time it seemed like a good idea since we had an emergent China that the United States was very wary of, and India, the largest democracy in the world, was going through a raft of changes that made it difficult to judge what the future held in store for them. However with the abandonment of Kyoto the United States lost out on the logic that since we didn’t join then China, India, Brazil, and others openly wondered aloud as to why they should join the Protocols either. So then by the United States refusing to sign on we thereby ensured that the unsafe and inimical practices that China, India, and Brazil used an order to grow their economies would continue. What is also missing by us not joining Kyoto is the technological advances that countries like Japan, and Brazil had made in the automotive, and sulfur scrubbing technologies were never to make their way into the hands of American countries. Kyoto, for the faults that it presented in the U.S.’s eyes at the beginning of the century, at this late stage now looks like quite the bargain.

The climate is not going to change overnight. If the administration is hopeful for a reduction in the amount of sulfur in the atmosphere, they need look no further than the Kyoto protocols which were never adopted by the U.S. or major emerging markets. In my estimation for the administration to be successful at the climate talks perhaps beginning with the much leveraged Kyoto protocols while tacking on the idea of even newer emerging technologies, and so called climate grants, they should be able to come away from this conference with all goals, and more accomplished.


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