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Argument: Costs of Kyoto are less than environmental-economic costs of inaction

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Joseph Heath. "Fuzzy math dominates Kyoto debate." Montreal Gazette. November 14th, 2002 - Notes that that the Canadian government's banning of the use of leaded gasoline had negative economic consequences, but then concludes that these consequences were worth the benefits; leaded gasoline is a neurotoxin. "When we burn it in fuel, and then breathe it in, we are literally poisoning ourselves. It causes heart and kidney problems in adults, and mental retardation in children. People pay thousands of dollars to have lead-based paint removed from their homes. So when we evaluate the ban on leaded fuel, it is meaningless to look at the costs without also looking at the benefits. In Canada, the ban on leaded fuel led to a 99% reduction in airborne lead emissions." The comparison is made to the Kyoto protocol in this article, arguing that while the Kyoto Protocol may have economic costs, these may be well worth it, particularly given the risks that global warming poses.


Ecology and Society. "The Kyoto Protocol Is Cost-effective". 1998 - Despite recent advances, there is a high degree of uncertainty concerning the climate change that would result from increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Also, opponents of the Kyoto Protocol raised the key objection that reducing emissions would impose an unacceptable economic burden on businesses and consumers. Based on an analysis of alternative scenarios for electricity generation in Italy, we show that if the costs in terms of damage to human health, material goods, agriculture, and the environment caused by greenhouse gas emissions are included in the balance, the economic argument against Kyoto is untenable. Most importantly, the argument holds true even if we exclude global external costs (those due to global warming), and account for local external costs only (such as those due to acidic precipitation and lung diseases resulting from air pollution).


Marino Gatto1, Andrea Caizzi2, Luca Rizzi2, and Giulio A. De Leo. The Kyoto Protocol Is Cost-effective". Ecology and Society. 2002 - Despite recent advances, there is a high degree of uncertainty concerning the climate change that would result from increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Also, opponents of the Kyoto Protocol raised the key objection that reducing emissions would impose an unacceptable economic burden on businesses and consumers. Based on an analysis of alternative scenarios for electricity generation in Italy, we show that if the costs in terms of damage to human health, material goods, agriculture, and the environment caused by greenhouse gas emissions are included in the balance, the economic argument against Kyoto is untenable. Most importantly, the argument holds true even if we exclude global external costs (those due to global warming), and account for local external costs only (such as those due to acidic precipitation and lung diseases resulting from air pollution).


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in 2008, "Climate change is no longer just a phenomenon. It has developed into a full-scale crisis which threatens broad areas of human endeavour, such as the race to reach and maintain the (UN's) Millennium Development Goals."[1]


"Kyoto Protocol: Pros & Cons". Russia in Foreign Affairs. 1 Dec. 2003 - Victor Potapov, Chairman of the Board of the Center for Joint Implementation Climatic Projects of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Rosgidromet), said that “Russia will not benefit politically by declining to ratify the Kyoto Protocol; yet it will not benefit economically by ratifying it, as Russia does not have a national system for regulating emissions of greenhouse gases… But by delaying the building of such a system Russia will not benefit either politically or economically.”

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