The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Kyoto Accords Are "Saved" ... But Not the Planet!

Aug 13, 2001

At Genoa the heads of state of the big powers departed with a declaration saying that there wasn’t agreement between the United States and the other industrialized countries over the question of ratification of the Kyoto agreement. This agreement is supposed to commit the industrialized countries to reduce the greenhouse gases which they emit by 5% between now and 2010. Scientists feel these gases are responsible for global warming. On the one hand there is Bush, who refused to ratify the agreement, and on the other hand, those who call themselves supporters of the Kyoto agreement, presenting themselves as more concerned to preserve the environment.

Bush refused to agree to the regulation of greenhouse gases by explaining, without laughing, that it would "endanger the American economy!" In reality, Bush especially didn’t want to impose the least restrictions on U.S. manufacturers and particularly oil companies, who, like the capitalists of all the other countries, crazily make fun of the future of the planet and the health of billions of human beings.

This attitude of the U.S., the biggest economic power in the world, which is alone responsible for a third of the world’s production of polluting gases, is obviously shocking. This is all the more so as Bush in fact proposes that the principal effort be made by the poor countries, who are supposed to use renewable energy sources!

But the defenders of the Kyoto agreement aren’t as great defenders of the environment as they want to present themselves to us. For neither Kyoto nor the latest agreement will settle what’s going to happen.

What was finally settled was that emission quotas were drawn up for greenhouse gases, without any penalty punishing those countries which exceeded them. Japan would only accept to sign the agreement on this basis, which says a lot about the way it intends to respect its quota ...

But at any event, the agreement anticipates many ways of exceeding these quotas. Given that forests and farming remove carbon from the atmosphere, certain countries will have a smaller quotas ... as a function of their forested area! Finally, according to the calculation of an ecological organization, the World Wild Fund [we need to see if this is Wildlife], the industrialized countries will only be held to a 1.8% cutback in gas emissions, instead of the previous 5%.

And then, there is still the "pollution market" which permits the rich countries to buy up "emission permits" of polluting gas from poor countries which can’t reach their quota. Better still, the industrialized countries could also acquire such "permits" by aiding the poor countries to equip themselves with technologies that are judged to be "little polluting." A new perspective market for the industrial companies of the rich countries!

Fundamentally, in what has been decided, nothing is of a nature to harm the interests and the profits of the industrial polluters. On the contrary, these companies can even find in the agreement a source of extra profits!