|Photo via Flickr|
What Will Become Of The Kyoto Climate Treaty?
As diplomats from around the world gather in Durban, South Africa, for talks about climate change, a big question looms: What will become of the Kyoto climate treaty, which was negotiated with much fanfare in 1997. The treaty was supposed to be a first step toward much more ambitious actions on climate change, but it is now on the brink of fading into irrelevance. That could have major implications for the future of United Nations climate talks.
Even under the best of circumstances, the Kyoto protocol would have made a barely measurable dent in the amount of greenhouse gases flowing into the Earth's atmosphere.
First, the United States decided not to ratify the treaty, so our emissions aren't covered by the pact. Then China leapfrogged the U.S. to become the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. But China is treated like a developing country under the Kyoto treaty, which means it has no obligations. Even so, Europe and a few other nations have been soldiering on.
23 Governors, 369 orgs throw support behind four-year PTC extension bill
Most recently, a broad, nonpartisan coalition of 369 members, including manufacturing, farm and business interests, issued a letter endorsing a four-year extension to the Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind energy's key federal tax incentive. Legislation recently introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03) seeks to grant a four-year extension to the existing PTC for wind energy (H.R. 3307, the "American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act").
Signatories to the letter include the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute (the trade group for investor-owned utilities), the Western Governors’ Association, the United Steelworkers and many members of the environmental community.
“Farmers and business people know a good deal when they see one, and that is exactly what clean, affordable, homegrown wind energy provides for the American people,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “With the support of a key federal tax incentive, wind energy is powering one of America’s fastest-growing manufacturing sectors. Over the last six years, U.S. domestic production of wind turbine components has grown 12-fold to more than 400 facilities in 43 states, shifting manufacturing jobs from overseas back to the U.S. By extending the PTC we will be able to continue growing U.S. wind energy manufacturing jobs rather than lose them to other countries.”