One Cheer For Putin

by Steven F. Hayward

Say what you will about Vladimir Putin, but he seems to be setting the stage for Russia to reject the Kyoto global warming treaty, which will be a death blow for the treaty, which was already on life support. Without Russia’s ratification, the treaty will not go into effect.

Yesterday Putin even said that Russia might benefit from global warming, a heresy that you aren’t supposed to utter. “If it warms up a degree or two, its not terrible. It might even be good–we’d spend less money on fur coats and other warm things.”

Behind the scenes the Russians are demanding guarantees that they will collect the theoretical windfall that Kyoto seemingly promises them. Because the treaty uses 1990 as its baseline year, when the old Soviet Union had mich higher greenhouse gas emissions than today, Russia stands ready to sell emission credits in any kind of tradable emissions scheme. I’m betting the Europeans wll not want to make firm commitments to transfer billions of dollars to Russia just to satisfy their green lobbies.