Will the Kyoto Protocol succeed?
Last week, after much controversy, the Russian government approved the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and sent it to its parliament for ratification (see Kyoto protocol comes in from the cold and Russian scientists break rank on global warming). Once this is completed, the treaty will become the first binding international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
An editorial in this week's Nature discusses what this means for the future of international climate change management. Most important, it argues, is to focus on the treaty's limitations, particularly its questionable legal force.
But the protocol's greatest weakness, it says, is its failure to focus on tomorrow's 'mega-economies', such as India and China, whose consumption is ever-increasing although they are exempt from cutting their emissions to 1990 levels.