If Kyoto Protocol Dies At COP17 Climate Talks, So Does Our Climate

coal power plant pollution photo

If you pay attention to international climate policy pundits, you probably aren't holding out much hope for any sort of big breakthrough at the COP17 climate talks in Durban, to begin in about two months. But in a new piece in Adopt a Negotiator, TckTckTck's Kelly Rigg lays out some pretty compelling reasons why we really need to be fighting for the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. If it dies in Durban, she says, "it will be the death knell for the climate fight."

TreeHugger talked with Rigg last week at SxSW Eco. In the video below she articulates some of her thinking behind this stark conclusion:

In the Adopt a Negotiator piece Rigg lays things in a slightly different way. Here's the top five reasons that we need to keep Kyoto alive:

  • "It's the only binding international climate law we've got, with no alternative in sight."
  • Even with the US not ratifying Kyoto, "It's working...Collectively, developed countries that ratified Kyoto are on track to achieve the protocol's target of an average decrease in emissions of 5.2% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012."
  • "It is helping drive the growth of the renewables industry in Europe and in big developing countries that are covered indirectly by Kyoto's carbon markets. 65% of the projects stemming from Kyoto's clean development mechanism, which allows countries to reduce emissions by investing in projects in developing countries, are focused on renewables."
  • "It's fair (though it would be far fairer if the US had signed on). Kyoto's first commitment period put the onus of first action on the highest and richest historical emitters.
  • "It represents collective action: Kyoto has an "aggregate" goal -- the total of what individual country targets must add up to. This is the opposite of the bottom up, pledge approach now championed by the Obama Administration."

Read all of Rigg's arguments: Adopt a Negotiator

If Kyoto Protocol Dies At COP17 Climate Talks, So Does Our Climate
Not only is the Kyoto Protocol the only binding international climate law we've got, it's fair and actually working. TckTckTck's Kelly Rigg makes a compelling case that if we let Kyoto die at COP17, it's the death knell for our climate.

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