The Kyoto Protocol comes into effect today. A total of 141 industrialised nations have ratified the protocol and are therefore legally bound by it.
The Kyoto Protocol has always been clouded in controversy. Of primary concern (to me anyway) is that even its proponents accept that the reduction in the average global temperature in 2100 will be 0.15°C lower than where it would have been – and that’s only if everything goes according to plan (I think that figure was relevant only if all members of the treaty had ratified the Protocol, and all members met their obligations). I believe the projected increase in temperature over the period to 2100 is in the range of about 1.5°C-6.0°C, so 0.15°C is extremely small compared to the margin of error in temperature increase predictions. Given this, is it really worth the expense? Kyoto was always about politics, not about science. For the other side of the climate change story, visit EnviroTruth.org.
Having said that, hopefully the Kyoto Protocol will be a springboard to bigger and better things. For a start it ought to provide the impetus for spending on "clean technologies" research, which should have implications far beyond the Kyoto Protocol.
I still hold out hope for a more inclusive, far-reaching, economically and scientifically sound agreement to tackle climate change. Perhaps Tony Blair can use Britain’s presidency of the G8 to develop such a framework.