Thursday, September 30, 2004

The Russians get on board

Russia is going to ratify Kyoto. The Russian cabinet has approved the decision and sent it to the Duma for formal ratification. If they approve it (and there aren't expected to be any problems - the Duma is pretty much a rubber stamp in Putin's Russia), it will finally allow the protocol to enter into force, despite the USA. There's a quid-pro-quo, of course - the EU will be supporting Russia into the WTO - but I don't see any real problems with that.

As for the consequences for New Zealand, it means that in all likelihood we will be getting a carbon tax in 2007. In the long term, if we want to meet our emissions targets (which are expected to get tougher), we will need to do some combination of a) making a substantial shift away from burning fossil fuels for electricity; b) finding a way of making cows burp less; and/or c) planting a lot more trees. A carbon tax should provide some incentive for the market to work towards the first, but we'll need to do a lot of work on the other two.