The Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international agreement designed to curb CO2 emissions, will expire in 2012, leaving it up to world leaders to design new ways to cut carbon. In December of 2007, officials convened in Bali for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to discuss the future of Kyoto and how to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. We asked three experts:
What should follow the Kyoto Protocol?
New York Times environment reporter, author of the Times’ Dot Earth blog
A lot more attention must be paid to advancing and disseminating next-generation energy technologies. As it prepared for the Bali climate talks, the American team said it hoped to build support for bigger investments in energy research by wealthy countries, and for ways to get less-polluting technologies to developing countries. I’ve learned to pay attention more to money and concrete actions than to words, so that’s what I’m watching for post-Bali.
Professor of Environmental Economics and International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University
Rather than set overall emission targets that will never be met, we need to break the challenge up into manageable pieces. Our priority should be to transform technology worldwide. That will require pull incentives—like a “price” on carbon—and push incentives—like direct R and D spending. The focus should be on key sectors, such as transportation nd electricity eneration.
Mayor of Seattle
In Seattle, we’ve reduced greenhouse gas pollution 8 percent below where it was in 1990. While it’s an important milestone, it’s just the start. To truly turn the tides on global warming, we must go beyond Kyoto and reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent. Instead of leading the world in greenhouse pollution, the United States should be leading the world toward a solution.
This article originally appeared in Plenty in February 2008. This story was added to MNN.com in June 2009.
Copyright Environ Press 2008