Kyoto will only postpone global warming

The Kyoto agreement to cut carbon emissions will have little effect on global warming, according to Danish environmental skeptic Bjørn Lomborg. Money allocated to climate change abatement could be better spent improving health, education and sanitary conditions across the world.

In the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal, the Director of the Danish Environmental Assessment Institute says that the costs of the Kyoto protocol will be large while the benefits will be marginal, postponing the planet’s temperature rise a mere six years from 2100 to 2106.

For the same amount of money that Kyoto will cost the European Union every year, the UN estimates that we could provide every person in the world with access to basic health, education, family planning, and water and sanitation services, says Lomborg in his paper How healthy is the world?.

But in an accompanying commentary in the BMJ, Anthony McMichael of the Australian National University argues that Lomborg’s views ignore the ecological and social implications of global environmental change, adding that the recognised marginal impact that the Kyoto protocol will have on global warming only increases the urgency for more radical and politically challenging cuts in emissions.

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