Kyoto in trouble

Russia may not ratify it. And even if it does, it's not going to do so anytime soon. That was the message, loud and clear, from the Russian president Vladimir Putin and his aides at the recent World Climate Change Conference held in Moscow, Russia, recently. Developing countries must now take the lead

 
Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015

the Kyoto Protocol is in trouble. Russia may not ratify it. And even if it does, it's not going to do so anytime soon. That was the message, loud and clear, from the Russian president Vladimir Putin and his aides at the recent World Climate Change Conference held in Moscow, Russia, recently.

Russia's decision to ratify the treaty seems inextricably linked to its politico-economic relationship with the European Union (eu). Bilateral issues, such as the creation of a common economic area and the eu's call for Russia to correct its artificially low energy prices, are sticky matters. Enough, to apparently dissuade Russia. What is not clear is whether Russia intends to go the way of the us and Australia. Unlike Russia, the two are major polluters, and have already abandoned the protocol. It is also adequately clear they aren't even remotely interested in ratifying it in future.

As the ping-pong over the protocol continues, climate change-related disasters continue to destroy the lives of the world's most vulnerable communities -- coastal, or agricultural. The poor in the developing world continue to suffer from insufficient ecological space to breathe in. The climate change mitigation process -- enshrined in the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -- remains hostage to a few petty, selfish but influential nations.

So, what do members do when they meet during the convention's Ninth Conference of Parties (co p-9) in December? Will they begin looking at alternatives? So far as developing countries are concerned, they cannot allow the convention and it's Protocol, built on years of hectic negotiation, to fail. They cannot allow the us, and its equally renegade allies, to smirk and continue to hack away at the convention . They must also question the eu committment . Why is the eu such a major hurdle in Russia's path? Can developing nations sit back, watch and wait indefinitely while these countries' policies and politics threaten their people and their economies? Absolutely not! The time is ripe for developing nations to take the lead. They will have to work at a feverish pace over the next one-and-a-half months and come up with innovative ways of taking on the challenges climate change poses.

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