Carbon Politics and the Failure of the Kyoto Protocol

23 Sep

Carbon Politics and the Failure of the Kyoto Protocol

Carbon Politics and the Failure of the Kyoto Protocol is a new book from the Managing Director of Sixth Element Sustainable Management, Dr. Gerald Kutney. The book has been published by Routledge – Earthscan.

Carbon Politics and the Failure of the Kyoto Protocol charts the framework and political evolution of the Kyoto negotiations in search for an answer to the failure of the international community to act on climate change. The focus is not on the science or consequences of climate change but on the political gamesmanship which has been pervasive throughout the Kyoto negotiations by the major players. The influence of politics on the Kyoto process has been well studied, and Carbon Politics is more than an updated history of the subject matter. What is new is the detailed study of the Kyoto targets which became a major influence on the reaction of nations to Kyoto, arguably more than any other. An objective of the book is to identify what went wrong with Kyoto and to clear up popular misconceptions on global leadership on climate change legislation. Without such knowledge, a way forward to reduce global emissions cannot be achieved. At the end of Carbon Politics, framework and policy suggestions are made to lower emissions going forward.

The evidence indicates that a fundamental cause of the failure of the Kyoto negotiations is the inequitable carbon targets. Contrary to the absolute value of the reduction in carbon emissions, the Kyoto targets of the EU and even Germany were far easier to achieve that those of the U.S. (and Canada). The EU had taken advantage of their position to improve their international competitiveness by forcing other developed nations to take on the burden of similar targets, even though the Europeans could just follow business-as-usual approaches to reach these goals. No one wants to play a game when the rules favor their opponents.

The first thirty pages including the preface and the beginning of Chapter 1 can be viewed on-line fromTaylor & Francis, and a preview is available on Google Books. Also, highlights of the chapters have been prepared by the author:

Chapter 1 on the background of the Kyoto negotiations and the politics of the IPCC.
Chapter 2 on glaciergate and the role of political climate skeptics.
Chapter 3 on policy development in the US and China.
Chapter 4 on policy development in the EU.
Chapter 5 on seeking simple solutions to climate change.



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