Kyoto Protocol: Five Queries to Its Enthusiasts


The Kyoto protocol aims to reduce air pollution with carbonic acid gas. Russia ought to join it, say many. They grow more persuasive with every passing day. European Union countries and Japan are the most active coaxers.

It is easy to see their point. A total 110 countries have ratified the protocol for today. The EU, Japan, Canada and a majority of developing countries are among them. Countries whose industry accounted for 55% or more hothouse gases in the air in 1990 must join the protocol, or it will not enter into force. Russia’s signature is a must after the USA officially refused to join, in 2001.

Clean environment is a vital cause. That goes without saying. Still, we cannot turn a blind eye to the many misunderstandings and deliberate misrepresentations of the Kyoto protocol. That is why we are anxious to put five essential questions-or sets of interrelated questions, to be more precise-to its enthusiasts.

First. Global warming is generally blamed on hothouse gases. Is there exhaustive proof of that assumption? Many top-notch experts track the warming down to one of the cyclic climatic changes, now underway. Why, then, do protocol supporters ignore that opinion? Many American researchers and political activists are offering substantiated objections to the protocol. Why is Russia shrugging off its strategic partner’s opinion?

Second. None other than European environmental standards are to be the yardstick as compliance with the Kyoto protocol is checked. Machinery and gauges of European design and manufacture are the best to bring down hothouse gas exhaust in the air. European Union countries toughly insist on those two points. What if they are merely out for bigger sales markets?

Third. Experts the world over know quota trade for a lucrative kind of commerce. Why, then, is the public kept ignorant of it? The UK, Denmark and certain other European Union countries have shifted to a closed-door arrangement of quota trade. Quota trade within industrial branches is intended for basic pattern. Then, quota trade has no proper legal footing as yet. That matters more than anything for today. Russia is expected to come at a bonanza as soon as it signs the protocol. That is sheer wishful thinking. Why is all that kept in silence?

Fourth. Unused Russian quotas for 2008-12 alone will be for sale. No account is made for the years of Russian industrial decline, 1991-2007, with comparatively clean environment. Now, Russia will be selling quotas for a time when it is doubling its gross domestic product on President Vladimir Putin’s economic plan-and when air pollution certainly gets worse. Why are protocol enthusiasts keeping that in silence?

Fifth. The Kyoto protocol makes no provisions for Russia’s specific environmental and economic developments. Why? Russia is the world’s biggest natural gas exporter. Imports allow its client countries to spectacularly reduce their carbonic acid air pollution without paying a dollar to compensate the exporter. Russia’s vast woodlands amply consume hothouse

fumes to the benefit of the global climate and of every living thing on earth. The protocol never takes that into consideration. No concessions are envisaged for Russia despite a forbidding northern climate in which a majority of our population lives. Meanwhile, the areas of such climate have to emit carbonic acid gas if they use survival technologies, and at least threshold exhaust ought to be taken into account.

Global environmental efforts are a sacred cause. No one doubts that. Yet Russia has to keep its eyes wide open, and not flinch from disagreeable queries, as it is making up its mind whether to join an essential instrument of international politics that will determine its economic workings for years ahead.