The Buzz Over the “Kyoto Alternative/Supplement”

It was nice to get away for a couple of days, and Fayetteville is actually a lovely college town. We stayed in the downtown area near the University of Arkansas, which was very walkable. But, it’s good to back home, literally and virtually…

As you might imagine, the newswires and blogosphere are abuzz with news and commentaries over the six-nation Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (Japan and South Korea are also on board).

  • Reuters has published a collection of comments on the new pact, with quotes from everyone to Australian Prime Minister John Howard to Greenpeace’s Energy Campaigner Catherine Fitzpatrick. There’s an amazing array of commentary considering we still don’t have the details on this.
  • Still, the criticisms of the outline for the plan are coming hard, and given the secretive nature of this pact, the environmental community has a right to be concerned. Another Reuters piece provides an overview of criticisms, with a focus on the plan’s voluntary nature and lack of specific goals. The Tapei Times labels the plan “Kyoto-lite,” and notes (as did Odograph) that all of the countries involved are big coal producers. An observation: coal was once “modern technology”… in the 19th century…
  • As we’ve come to expect, WorldChanging has a different take on this development (at least partly in response to my cynicism): Jamais notes “I suspect that, once the details are known, there will be quite a bit of justifiable dismissal from sustainability analysts,” but also offers an idea for reframing the pact:

    When the details of the APP4CDC come out, I’d like us all to start scouring it for potential pressure points. What are the elements of the agreement that could turn out to be useful tools for forcing more change, faster change, better change than the negotiators intended? How can we use it in ways that actually can get us to where we want to go? What parts of the treaty can be re-framed in ways that strengthen the bright green approach, moving us to real emissions reduction and disaster avoidance? Think of it as memetic judo, cognitive tai chi, an attempt to use the energy of the agreement in ways that the signatory governments wouldn’t expect.

That’s certainly a more positive way of preparing for the details of this plan, and it just might work with some of the signatories. I’m not at all hopeful that such tactics would have any impact on our own fearless leaders, though — if they’re good at anything, it’s ignoring alternatives to their own ideas.

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