Kyoto Earth Summit Information Center:
Kyoto, Japan - The rogue states of Libya, Iraq, Iran and Cuba may soon be at the forefront of the negotiations in Kyoto. The Kyoto Earth Summit Information Center has learned that a congressional delegation will be arriving in Kyoto on Saturday and one of the demands it will make concerns these rogue nations and President Clinton's proposed tradeable emissions scheme.
On October 22, President Clinton announced that he would seek the establishment of an international emissions trading scheme as an alternative to carbon taxes as a means of reducing world emissions of greenhouse gases. The problem is that even rogue nations would be eligible for emissions credits, under the plan.
Cuba, Libya, Iran and Iraq have all undergone precipitous economic declines, particularly since 1990 when the Soviet Union collapsed. But under the Clinton Administration's proposal, these states would reap a windfall -- access to emissions credits, tradeable property, that can be sold to the highest bidder.
The Republican congressional delegation is going to insist that the four rogue states be excluded from any emissions trading plan agreed to here in Kyoto as a condition of U.S. congressional support. This could complicate already delicate negotiations as it will serve to divide developing nations, called the G-77 nations, more than they are already. It could also deepen the rift between the G-77 countries and the United States. While Iran, Iraq, Libya and Cuba are rogue states in the eyes of the Republican Congress and even to some extent by the Clinton Administration, they aren't necessarily considered as such by developing countries. This issue could instigate a call for developing world solidarity.
The issue will further complicate the already difficult problems the U.S. has in coming to terms with the developing nations as it yet again increases the leverage these nations will have over the Kyoto process.
At this writing is unclear whether or not the Clinton Administration has been apprised of the congressional delegation's plan. In any event, the news can not be a welcome development. Clinton Administration negotiators have stated publicly that they have been working until two in the morning every day trying to resolve various unresolved issues, but particularly differences with the G-77 nations.
In other developments, Assistant Secretary of State Melinda Kimble, still acting as chief U.S. negotiator in Kyoto, was asked today to comment on remarks made by Vice President Albert Gore that the U.S. was prepared to walk away from the negotiations if he wasn't satisfied that the G-77 countries had made sufficient commitments to reduce or limit their own greenhouse gas emissions. Her response: "If that's the Vice President's statement, then we're in agreement with it."
The Kyoto Earth Summit Information Center has learned from an eyewitness account that the European Union (EU) is seeking help from British Prime Minister Tony Blair to get the U.S. to acquiesce to the EU on several key points of contention, including the EU's insistence that it be treated as a single nation in any treaty that is signed. The EU wants to be treated as a single entity to permit it to shift the burdens of greenhouse emissions controls to its member states that can most easily meet the targets, thereby giving it economic advantage over the U.S. and other countries. A British diplomat detailed to the European Union delegation in Kyoto has called London to urge them to "Try to use Number 10 Downing Street's influence with Washington."
-Dr. Bonner Cohen, on-site in Kyoto, provided the information for this report