Last Tango in Buenos Aires

When the Kyoto Protocol was signed a year ago, hopes ran high that the world was finally on the way to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and getting the global climate back under control. But since then, complicated new provisions (critics call them loopholes) have sharply divided key governments. The making of the treaty has become a black box—a process largely invisible and incomprehensible to the public. Meanwhile, the apparent effects of global warming are beginning to break out in ways that call for far more decisive action than the past ten years of negotiation have produced. Unless the November meeting of climate treaty negotiators in Buenos Aires demonstrates real progress, it may be time to take a whole new approach to the problem. Christopher Flavin's article leads off with a candid assessment of the prospects for the Kyoto Protocol—what's wrong with it and what has to be remedied soon.
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