Other countries such as Russia, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia also wanted a single new treaty that puts binding obligations on all major emitters, but the prospect of that happening any time soon – with a US Congress filled with politicians who argue that forced emissions reductions would do too much economic damage, and China saying economic growth to pull millions of its citizens out of poverty is more important than emissions controls.
“Last week, big industry associations ... opposed [the] extension of the Kyoto Protocol,” says Masako Konishi, senior climate policy adviser of the World Wildlife Fund, Japan. “Unfortunately the Japanese government is listening to the big industry voice rather than a plea from the world.”
The Kyoto Protocol is a divisive and emotional issue. A great deal of distrust exists since developing countries suspect that developed countries are trying to abandon their commitments under the treaty.
Developed countries certainly don’t want to be stuck with steep mitigation cuts, and the European Union has said that the US needs to take cuts comparable to the Kyoto Protocol. The early death of Kyoto is most likely to lead to less ambitious, and less effective, agreements in the future, analysts say.