Interesting report from the New York Times on how the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is in growing disrepute around the world and how more and more countries are coming around to the US position. Excerpts:
... there is a growing recognition of the economic costs incurred by signing on to the Kyoto Protocol.
As Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, a proponent of emissions targets, said in a statement on Nov. 1: "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge."
Some veterans of climate diplomacy and science now say that perhaps the entire architecture of the climate treaty process might be flawed.
There are few brave politicians left, still willing to sacrifice their economy in order to enforce a flawed treaty. On Tuesday, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak took a break from his busy singing and stage diving schedule to appear on the Al Franken Show. According to KARE he had this to say about his priorities in running the city:
Ryback spent the bulk of his time at the microphone touting his city's national leadership on environmental issues. Minneapolis was one of the first cities to join others in pledging to enforce the provisions of the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gases, despite the federal government's decision not to sign the accord.
I have no idea what it means for a municipality to pledge to enforce an international treaty on restricting greenhouse gas emissions. (I suspect RT Rybak doesn't either). But, as the rest of the world is now coming to agree, it can't be good for business. From the NYT article:
Carbon dioxide is generated by activities as varied as surfing the Web, driving a car, burning wood or flying to Montreal. Its production is woven into the fabric of an industrial society, and, for now, economic growth is inconceivable without it.
But, RT Rybak believes he lives in a different world from the rest of us. A world where the laws economic growth and physics don't apply (which might explain the stage diving). His thoughts on Minneapolis enforcing the Kyoto Accords and their relationship to economic growth:
Ryback, who drives a hybrid car himself, argued that building a green and sustainable city actually is a plus for growth and development, "And if you can say, I love the city I live in, name it, but it's becoming more and more congested, the air is getting worse and worse, why don't I move to a place like Minneapolis? It's a growth strategy. It's a good thing."
Minneapolis--come for the impression of cleaner air, but leave your car, computer, furnace, and job at home. Now that's a growth strategy.
Laugh if you will, but it's policies such as this that gave RT Rybak a reelection mandate of 62% of Minneapolis voters. Yes, people get the growth strategies and enforcement of international climate protocols they deserve.
Thanks to a certain electoral temper tantrum/turn over in power in St. Paul last month, we may be seeing more of the same on this side of the river:
[Al Franken's] first guest was Saint Paul's new mayor-elect Chris Coleman, who has pledged to work closely with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback, who is a personal friend.
And when Ryback had his time at the microphone he returned the favor, suggesting the two mayors will cooperate on schools, transportation and even work toward building a light rail transit line between the two cities.
Citizens of St. Paul, welcome to the RT Rybak's world.