Not sure what all has kept me away, but I am back now and should be posting more frequently.
Once and Future Protocols
One of the big headlines this week was the announcement that Russia may not sign the Kyoto Protocol on global climate change. This was widely seen as a sign of the end of the Kyoto Protocol given the Bush Administration’s opposition and the long-standing concerns in the U.S. Senate. The death of the Protocol creates a new opportunity for action which has long been needed. The Protocol was flawed and quickly became dated. However, as noted in the excerpts below from the NY Times
the Protocol has prompted discussion and action in some jurisdictions. The question now is whether the death of the Protocol will prompt further action in the U.S. and Texas.
Since it was negotiated in Japan in 1997, the Kyoto Protocol, the first treaty that would require countries to curb emissions linked to global warming, has lingered in an indeterminate state, between enactment and outright rejection.
. . .
Even without approval by the United States and Russia — first and fourth on lists of the world's largest emitters of heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases — the treaty has already changed the world in small but significant ways that will be hard to reverse, these experts say.
From Europe to Japan and the United States, just the prospect of the treaty
has resulted in legislation and new government and industry policies curbing emissions.
The treaty's future impact is limited by deep flaws, many experts say, including its lack of any emissions limits on China and other big developing countries and its short time frame, with terms extending only to 2012. As a result, they add, new approaches must be developed now if atmospheric levels of the gases are to be stabilized.
. . .
Regardless of which way Russia steps, the process of moving the world toward limiting releases of the gases after more than a century of relentless increases has clearly begun, said David B. Sandalow, a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and an assistant secretary of state during the Clinton administration who worked on the treaty.
"The standard of success isn't whether the first treaty out of the box sails through," he said. "The standard is whether this puts the world on a path to solving a long-term problem. Other multilateral regimes dealing with huge complex problems, like the World Trade Organization, have taken 45 or 50 years to get established."
Mr. Sandalow and other experts noted that the European Union had already passed a law requiring a cap and credit-trading system for the gases starting in 2005. It will follow the pattern laid out in Kyoto no matter what happens to the treaty.
Happy Birthday Governor Dean
Okay, so I missed his actual 55th birthday on November 17th. I did, however, participate in a conference call the Saturday before his birthday with 5,000 other Americans who had gathered to wish him a happy birthday. Much has been written about the Dean campaign’s success using the Internet
. An important corollary to that has been the Dean campaign’s use of conference calls such as that, monthly meet-ups, and other tactics to reach out to voters. One of the crucial things that a campaign must do is demonstrate that the candidate has the organizational skills required for the job. This is true whether a candidate is running for city council, for state office, or for the presidency. To date, the Dean campaign has consistently demonstrated that it is the best organized and run of the campaigns. Organizational competence is something that the Democrats who worry that Dean cannot win, particularly the Clark fanciers
, need to keep in mind.
Trying bin Laden
Governor Dean has been getting some flak this week for not emphasizing that Osama bin Laden should be tried by a U.S. court rather than the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Governor Dean said that “it doesn’t make a lot of difference to med as long as he is brought to justice.”
What’s wrong with that? The key issue is bringing bin Laden to justice. All other considerations are secondary.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the United States’ reputation is falling like a stone with the European and Asian nations that are our allies and trading partners and whose help we need to win the war on terrorism. Agreeing to allow bin Laden to be tried in the Hague would go a long way to restoring our credibility with other nations. Besides, if U.S. troops catch bin Laden, we will get to decide where any trial will take place.
’Tis the Season
You are 'Deck the Halls'! Let's be honest, it
isn't Christmas you are celebrating, is it? In
fact, you know full well that there were no
shepherds in the fields in December, and that
the date of Christmas was put at midwinter
specifically to coincide with the older
celebrations of Yule and the birth of Mithras.
An unashamed Pagan, you take great glee in the
number of carols referring to holly, evergreens
and Winter's end, and will sing them with
gusto. You know where they really came from.
And you do enjoy the seasonal celebrations,
regardless of their name... A merry Yule to
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