CNSNews.com has a reporter at the U.N. Climate Summit in Buenos Aires. Yesterday, the reporter managed to fluster the moderator of a panel that was discussing the alleged impact of global warming on the habitat and lifestyle of the Inuit people (who insist that such impact constitutes a human rights violation, and that -- of course -- the U.S. is to blame). When pressed by the reporter to provide a scientific foundation for the accusation, the moderator replied that this was "not a scientific event". Another panelist added later that the Inuit complaint was "not about the science, but it's about what is happening to human beings."
As would be expected, the Summit was essentially a platform on which various nations and non-governmental organizations could heap scorn on the U.S. for its failure to ratify the Kyoto climate treaty. Their rage, of course, was motivated by the conviction that Kyoto's prescriptions must be followed if global warming is to be contained. Wasn't it?
In today's dispatch from Buenos Aires, CNSNews reports that green groups expect Kyoto to have little, if any, impact on the environment. They believe, in the words of Friends of the Earth spokesman Peter Roderick, that "Kyoto is really, really hopeless in terms of delivering what the planet needs." What the planet needs, in their view, amounts to a near rollback of the Industrial Revolution ("huge, huge cuts").
So.... is Kyoto meaningless? Not at all, say the greens. Kyoto is useful as a largely symbolic first step; this is why it is crucial to proponents that the U.S. sign on -- the second step, whatever it may be, won't be possible without American participation.
Many have run the numbers on the devastating impact Kyoto would have on the global economy, and in particular on the American economy. Given the abundant evidence that the environmental movement is largely indistinguishable from the world socialist movement (as is evidenced by the Earth Charter), Kyoto's anticapitalist character is most likely a feature, not a flaw.