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Global Warming: The Gathering Storm

Russia resurrects the Kyoto Protocol and the prospect of either mandatory CO2 emissions cuts for U.S. utilities, or the start of a global trade war.
Fortnightly Magazine - August 2004

resist global pressure to reduce its CO 2 emissions, it will largely cede control over how the rules implementing Kyoto are written and risk trade sanctions by trading partners seeking to reduce the disparity in production costs.

To avoid this negative outcome, the United States should pursue a more pragmatic middle path that confronts the problem of global warming by laying out the necessary domestic framework and economic incentives to create a domestic CO 2 emissions market that produces efficient CO 2 reductions, much like the Acid Rain Trading Program. In this way, America can develop new technologies, regain its credibility in the global deliberations over how to combat global warming, and avoid the risk of a damaging trade war with the EU.


  1. See The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, President Bush Discusses Global Climate Change, June 11, 2001.
  2. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that it lacks the statutory authority to even regulate CO 2 as an "air pollutant," even though the Clean Air Act says that EPA can regulate any substance emitted to the ambient air having an adverse effect on "public health or welfare," which includes "effects on weather, visibility, and climate." See 42 U.S.C. §§ 7408(a) and 7602(g) & (h). See Memorandum from EPA General Counsel Robert Fabricant to Acting Administrator Maryann Horenko, Aug. 28, 2003.
  3. See U.S. Energy Information Administration/, at 56.
  4. at 55.
  5. European Commission, Russia - WTO: EU-Russia Deal Brings Russia a Step Closer to WTO Membership (May 21, 2004)
  6. European Commission, The EU and Russia: Closer Neighbors and Partners, May 2004 (
  7. , A5-0154/2004 (March 17, 2004), p. 6/32.
  8. See Greenpeace Comments and Annotations On the WTO Doha Ministerial Declaration, January 2002.
  9. See U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means, Background on American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, H.R. 4520, June 17, 2004 (; , "U.S. Loses Appeal On Steel Tariffs, WTO Decision Lets EU Retaliate," Nov. 11, 2003.
  10. WTO, General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade, Article XX(g) (1986) ( http:///
  11. , AB-1996-1, WT/DS2/AB/R; (96-1597), 1996 WTO DS LEXIS 1, (April 29, 1996).
  12. WTO, , AB-1998-4, WT/DS58/AB/R (98-3899), Oct. 12, 1998.
  13. See International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Resolution No. 99-1 Authorizing Establishment of the Prototype Carbon Fund, As Amended (
  14. at 53.
  15. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 18.
  16. See D. Smith and K. Danish, "Climate Change: The Heat Is On," , January 2004.

About the Kyoto Protocol

In 1997, the United States signed the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty in which the developed nations (the so-called Annex I countries) agreed to limit their greenhouse gas emissions-mainly CO 2, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride-relative to the levels emitted in 1990. The United States committed to reduce emissions from 1990 levels by 7 percent during the first compliance period, 2008-2012. Kyoto enters into force 90 days after at least 55 countries and Annex I countries accounting for at least 55 percent of the total 1990 carbon dioxide emissions ratify it. As of