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The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming (Council on Foreign Relations Book) Paperback – August 15, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Council on Foreign Relations Book
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (August 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691120269
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691120263
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,685,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the winter of 2000, international talks on the implementation of planned emissions standards again faltered, a resolution again postponed. In The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming, scientist David G. Victor of the Council on Foreign Relations parses the problem-ridden 1997 agreement. Victor describes the hasty initial negotiations, the origin of an emissions trading imbroglio whereby governments would purchase emissions credits from other countries rather than meeting "their Kyoto obligations within their borders," the impossible costs of "Kyoto's fantasyland" and the protocol's inevitable failure. But in the failure lies the possibility for a manageable solution, Victor notes. Publication coincides with Earth Day.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"In [his] timely new book . . . [David Victor] argues that . . . the real cause of the treaty's collapse is the architecture of a pure 'cap and trade' system, which allows ambitious targets but puts no limits on compliance costs."--Economist

"In 1997, 38 relatively rich nations agreed at Kyoto to reduce by 2012 their greenhouse gas emissions, mainly carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, to below 1990 levels. This short and closely reasoned book argues persuasively that this plan is deeply flawed. . . ."--Foreign Affairs

"Victor is no Pollyanna. He thinks public awareness of the problem is widespread. The lack of a 'viable architecture' for international cooperation is the main impediment to action."--David Warsh, The Boston Globe

"Victor is not the enemy. He bears bad news, but one's reaction to bad news should not be directed against its bearer. Victor's painstaking analysis shows that the signers of the protocol left the really difficult questions to be worked out later, according to an unrealistic timetable. He carefully analyzes the alternative ways these difficult matters could succeed."--John B. Cobb, Christian Century

"David Victor 'thinks big' about the architecture of an international regime that would effectively regulate the primary cause of this climate change: emissions of greenhouse gases into the global atmosphere. . . . Victor's analysis makes it clear that in order to design a policy framework that will allow active control of the rate of future climate change, the US will have to engage with the emerging new institutions of global environmental governance."--Mike Hulme,The Times Higher Education Supplement

"Victor's analysis is sharp and fresh. . . . He offers a measured analysis of intelligent solutions. . . . At heart, though, he argues that the protocol will fail because of its architecture and its inability to take modern economic truths into account."--Alanna Mitchell, The Globe and Mail

"Required reading [for] those interested in international relations and economics."--Choice

"This book gives the reader a detailed and complete analysis of why the author anticipated the Kyoto Protocol to fail just as the failure is currently happening. . . . [Victor] succeeds in showing that the global-warming problem touches different disciplines from natural sciences to economy and from national and international legislation to policy and diplomacy."--F. Pauli, Journal of Economics

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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Greg Priddy on April 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
For many who favor taking action to control global warming, a book which points out the fatal flaws in the Kyoto Protocol is going to be somewhat unwelcome. However, David Victor makes a very compelling case that the Protocol is unworkable as negotiated. By creating an immensely valuable new financial asset (emissions permits) and a trading system, it opens up problems related to enforcement and monitoring, the protection of property rights under international law, the inclusion of "illiberal" governments with weak legal systems in the regime, and large politically unpalatable (and essentially unearned) transfers of wealth to Russia and Ukraine.
How does the system deal with a government, for example, which pockets its payments for selling emission permits, then pulls out of the regime when it ceases to be profitable? How are additional countries to be brought into the regime without giving them the incentive of very high "worst case" emissions targets? How do you create an asset which is allocated based on statistical data which may be imperfect?
[If anything, Victor is too *optimistic* about the ability to accurately monitor CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. As an example of this one needs only to look at Chinese coal consumption data, which has fallen by a rather implausible amount in the last half-decade, for reasons internal to China having nothing to do with Kyoto. Questionable official data (and the possibility of intentionally skewed data) for developing countries is a real impediment to their future inclusion in any regime.
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8 of 45 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
David Victor presents an interesting story with one major omission which tends to disqualify the book completely.
Blithely assuming that emissions controls can reverse a modest climate change without as much as an attempt to understand the nature of the present climate trend, especially in a perspective giving at least some comprehension of why climate change constantly occurs, the book cooks up a lot or reasoning about nothing.
The cart is solidly before the horse and I suggest other transportation for those interested in the Kyoto conundrum.
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