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The Collapse of the Kyoto Protocol and the Struggle to Slow Global Warming

By: David G Victor

178 pages, Figs, tabs

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Aug 2004 | #147943 | ISBN: 0691120269
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £36.99 $48/€42 approx
Hardback | Dec 2001 | #118303 | ISBN: 0691088705
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About this book

Explains why the Kyoto Protocol is unlikely to enter into force and how its failure will offer the opportunity to establish a more realistic alternative. Kyoto's fatal flaw, Victor argues, is that it can work only if emissions trading works, which would involve the creation of billions of dollars worth of emissions permits - the largest single invention of assets by voluntary international treaty in world history. He proposes a hybrid in which governments set targets for both emission quantities and tax levels. This offers the important advantages of both emission trading and taxes without the debilitating drawbacks of each. '...written with an authority and detail that few can muster. It is also an absolutely independent assessment, beholden to no one. Yet the core conclusion reveals a fundamental inconsistency in the analysis.' Michael Grubb, Nature

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. e 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


Preface vii CHAPTER 1 Crisis and Opportunity 3 CHAPTER 2 Kyoto's Fantasyland: Allocating the Atmosphere 25 CHAPTER 3 Monitoring and Enforcement 55 CHAPTER 4 Rethinking the Architecture 75 CHAPTER 5 After Kyoto: What Next? 109 APPENDIX The Causes and Effects of Global Warming: A Brief Survey of the Science 117 Notes 123 Works Cited 155 Index 173

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David G. Victor is Research Fellow for Science and Technology at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is a regular contributor to edited volumes as well as to Nature, Scientific American, and other journals.

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