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I see now the UNFCCC has decided to “rethink” the list of haves and have-nots, that is, who needs to be covered by, and who may be exempt from, a post-2012 “Kyoto” agreement, and Russia preemptively gets a nod that it need not worry about pressure to stay in (sic) the game. After all, other countries are richer per capita.

Using the UNFCCC’s new metric, figures reveal that Bulgaria, which was recently bribed in (a la Russia) on the promise of selling 60 MMT to Europe — certainly they’ll need them — has no business being among the “haves” and we thank them for playing, here’s a lovely parting gift.  Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland certainly no longer need apply either, but make way for Bermuda, the Channel Islands, San Marino…who knows, maybe the Savoy will seize the moment to make a comeback (don’t forget Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Singapore, all of whom are far richer than many of the Kyoto Parties).  EU-member and Kyoto free-rider Cyprus is as wealthy as South Korea; surely we should expect them to pony up now?

Obviously this isn’t a coherent argument to reshuffle the lineup.  What changed?  Nothing, except Russia made clear what others have known and predicted for years: they had no intention of being in the agreement should it require them to do anything other than receive wealth transfers.  What a lovely, face-saving way to preemptively deal with that; being among the 155 wealth transfer-recipient nations is precisely where they belong.  But consider the step-down in the UNFCCC’s thinking behind this particular step-down. 

Apparently the agreement, whose original aim was to slowly include all countries (or certainly most), is now just for a rotating bunch of about 3 dozen countries.  The one constant is that the U.S. has to be one of them, and they will change metrics — it used to be “biggest emitters!”, until Bush adopted that; now it’s per capita wealth, with exceptions — as needed to apologize for China and India staying out.



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