Kyoto Protocol Ratification – So what?
After years of political debate, the Kyoto Protocol came into force on 16 February 2005. Against this background, the fourth Climate Talk posed questions regarding what climate politics and economic effects the Kyoto Protocol in its present form will have and which (further) steps for the path to a "Carbon Constrained Economy" (Tony Blair) are necessary. Presentations were given by Dr. Hermann Ott (Head of the Wuppertal Institute Berlin Office) and by Dr. Hans-Joachim Ziesing (Senior Executive of the German Institute for Economic Research).
Hermann Ott compared climate protection with climbing a mountain, with the Kyoto Protocol being symbolised by the early rising necessary before one begins the ascent. Although the Protocol will only have small impacts on the climate balance, its ratification marks a political and institutional turning point. Hermann Ott went on to discuss the possibilities and demands of current climate politics and in particular the questions of how to handle the post-2012-phase and co-operation with the US.
Hans-Joachim Ziesing pointed specifically to the gap between political goals and the actual reduction of emissions. He discussed the possible and necessary aspects of an independent European climate policy and the importance of integrating considerations for the subsequent trading periods in current climate policies.
The lively discussion focused on the options and risks of political action. The discussants highlighted the urgent need for a consequent and integrated climate policy, in the framework of which the Protocol could be seen as only a first and small step. At the same time, the challenge of initiating proper next national, international, thematic and diplomatic steps became evident.
The discussion was eventually moved to a nearby location, where the evening drew to a relaxed close.