Kyoto Protocol is a Predatory Trade Strategy Masquerading as an Environmental Treaty

Kyoto Protocol is a Predatory Trade Strategy Masquerading as an Environmental Treaty

Lewis Letter to the Editor in the Financial Times
November 16, 2003

Sir. Michael Grubb ("The world must keep its nerve over <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Kyoto", November 13) wants the US and Russia to ratify the Kyoto protocol. What a surprise! Mr. Grubb works for the Carbon Trust, an organisation set up and funded by Tony Blair's government to facilitate business compliance with Kyoto's energy suppression mandates. Kyoto would confer competitive advantage on UK businesses vis a` vis their US counterparts but only if the US participated. If neither the US nor Russia ratifies, the treaty is dead. And if Kyoto dies, the Carbon Trust has no raison d'être.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

As is widely known, Kyoto would impose greater burdens on the US than on Britain, France, and Germany. Owing to a combination of factors unrelated to environmental concern - stagnant continental economies, low population growth, Britain's switch from coal to natural gas, France's reliance on nuclear power and Germany's closure of obsolete East German factories - those countries are within easy reach of their Kyoto target. In contrast, a growing population, robust economic growth in the 1990s, the world's highest per capita vehicle miles traveled, and the world's largest coal reserves ensure that US carbon emissions will exceed the US's Kyoto target by at least 30 per cent.

 

As for Russia, Kremlin officials such as Andrei Illarionov, the presidential economic adviser, now realise that ratifying Kyoto would mean, "dooming the country to poverty, backwardness and weakness". Gone forever is the dream of a multi-billion-dollar windfall from selling surplus emission credits. Russia's economy is growing so rapidly that emissions could exceed the country's Kyoto target by 6 per cent in 2008.

 

Even if implemented by all industrial countries, Kyoto would have no discernible effect on climate change. Kyoto is essentially a predatory trade strategy masquerading as an environmental treaty.

 

As Margot Wallström, the European Union environment commissioner, put it: "This is about international relations, this is about economy, about trying to create a level playing field for big businesses throughout the world." There are, of course, two ways to level the playing field: reduce EU energy taxes and regulation, or increase US energy taxes and regulation. Mr. Grubb and his sponsors obviously prefer the latter.