Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Kyoto Experiment Begins

Today marks the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, one of the most ambitious international environmental treaties in world history. Whatever I might think of the merits of this project, the creation of a worldwide system of greenhouse gas emission regulation certainly is worthy of my interest as a scholar of international law.

For a list of events worldwide commemorating the day, see here. Japan kicked things off at 5:30 a.m. EDT in, of course, Kyoto. The conventional wisdom appears to be that U.S. companies will reduce greenhouse gas emissions anyway. Interestingly, as this neat graph shows, many countries that have signed Kyoto (like Spain and Portugal) have actually been heading in the wrong direction, increasing their GHG emissions since 1990 more than even the non-Kyoto U.S. has been doing.

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