“Kill Kyoto,” says Nature commentary

“Time to ditch Kyoto” says a commentary in Nature magazine’s October 25 issue. The article, written by Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner, points to the deficiencies of the Kyoto Protocol’s top-down, centralized approach and offers suggestions for other approaches.

  • Focus mitigation efforts on the big emitters
  • Allow genuine emissions markets to evolve from the bottom up
  • Put public investment in energy R&D on a wartime footing
  • Increase spending on adaptation
  • Work the problem at appropriate scales
  • The silver buckshot approach

Here’s one of the concluding statements in the article:

Because no one can know beforehand the exact consequences of any portfolio of policy measures, with a bottom-up approach, governments would focus on navigation, on maintaining course and momentum towards the goal of fundamental technological change, rather than on compliance with precise targets for emissions reductions. The flexibility of this inelegant approach would allow early mitigation efforts to serve as policy experiments from which lessons could be learned about what works, when and where. Thus cooperation, competition and control could all be brought to bear on the problem.

It’s interesting to note that adaptation and mitigation have finally been included in the arsenal of possible tools to address global warming issues. Also notable is mention of bottom-up rather than top-down approaches. Do I detect progress being made?