Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Russians are angry

President Putin may have signed the Kyoto Protocol, it may have passed both Houses of the Duma and all the ministers have agreed to develop ways of working within it, though the gritting of teeth was audible.

The EU is rejoicing mightily (well, those of them who know no Russian history are) and some environmental activists have been staging all sorts of events demanding that the USA follow suit. Unfortunately for the activists the EU, who, in its guise as the political representative of the transnational bureaucracy, has assumed Kyoto as its own special mission, has no power to compel the United States, or China, or numerous other countries. The only one it had any power over, was Russia, because of its intense longing to be part of the WTO.

The Russians have not taken kindly to being blackmailed, as we have pointed out before. It is quite extraordinary that the “Europeans” who are always accusing the Americans (and by extension the British and anyone else who supports the United States) of being unsophisticated and crude in their dealings with everyone but, particularly, Russia. The Russians’ feelings are perpetually being upset. But not, it seems, when they are subjected to very crude blackmail by the sophisticated and non-aggressive Europeans.

As it was to be expected it was Andrei Illarionov, President Putin’s adviser, a very clever economist and vehement opponent of Kyoto who refused even to grit his teeth. In a recent article in the Financial Times he explained why he thought that the Kyoto Protocol was
“… destructive for science and the environment, health and safety, for economic growth and for the international fight against hunger and poverty”.
Covers it all, I’d say.

Mr Illarionov goes through all the arguments that show the lack of scientific base for the Protocol: the fact that climate change is “an ialienable feature of Earth”; the fact that in the past, long before large amounts of fossil fuel were burned, the climate was warmer and the temperature extremes greater.

Then he lists all the things that are wrong with the Kyoto Protocol itself. It tackles none of the real air pollutants; it relies on unreliable arguments; it is devastating to economic growth (a serious problem in Russia). The Kyoto countries have shown slower economic growth than the non-Kyoto ones (and that is despite the fact that none of the signatories have come anywhere near cutting their emissions to the required extent).

He finishes the article, that is written in his personal capacity, but is unlikely to have been sent to the Financial Times without general approval by his boss, President Putin:
“The Kyoto protocol requires a supranational bureaucratic monster in charge
of rationing emissions and, therefore, economic activities. The Kyotoist system of quota allocation, mandatory restrictions and harsh penalties will be a sort of international Gosplan, to rival the former Soviet Union's economic planning committee.

The majority of humankind does not accept this system, despite claims of worldwide support. Even with Russia's ratification, 75 per cent of the world's CO is emitted by, 68 per cent of the world's GDP is produced in, and 89 per cent of the world's population live in countries that are not handcuffed by Kyoto's restrictions. Like fascism and communism, Kyotoism is an attack on basic human freedoms behind a smokescreen of propaganda. Like those ideologies of human hatred, it will be exposed and defeated.”
Russia’s record on fulfilling international obligations is generally patchy, to put it mildly. It is unlikely to be improved over Kyoto, whose dangers and shortcomings they perceive clearly and whose straitjacket has been forced on them by the European Union.

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