In 2001, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change produced a ‘rulebook’ to guide the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol: the Marrakech Accords. This paper summarises strategic aspects of the Protocol and the Accords, explores the economic implications for the future of the treaty and offers interesting post-Kyoto scenarios for greenhouse gas reductions.

Key points raised by the authors include:

  • Prospects for the Kyoto system remain highly uncertain, with potential outcomes ranging from collapse to impasse to full restoration.
  • The US position on climate change is likely to be unsustainable beyond 2005 owing to growing domestic political pressure; regime development will hinge on US re-engagement, increased developing country participation and dealing with climate impacts.
  • Negotiations over further commitments will be highly complex, involving structural distinctions between different groups and new design elements to control perceived costs and risks.

This is an insightful analysis that is useful for understanding the possible outcomes of the Protocol, particularly for those with some prior knowledge of the field.