British Prime Minister Tony Blair's call for America to ratify the Kyoto Protocol this week tacitly acknowledges that Russian ratification, thought by then-Commissioner Wallstrom to have been secured by EU concessions on Russian World Trade Organization membership earlier this year, is no longer a serious prospect.
Instead, European eyes are turning once again to the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />United States. However, with John Kerry on record as saying the Kyoto protocol is “not the answer” and the U.S. Senate standing by its 1997 refusal by 95-0 to not ratify Kyoto, there appears to be little hope for Blair, Wallstrom, and their colleagues. Even a move by high officials of several American states sympathetic to them has been criticized by their usual allies.In the meantime, the state attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Wisconsin, and the counsel for New York City, filed a complaint on July 21 in federal district court in Manhattan, alleging that five leading electric power generators in the United States had created a “public nuisance” by emitting carbon dioxide, thereby contributing to global warming. All but one of the officers who brought the suit are Democrats. Key environmental pressure groups criticized the move.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />