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The Kyoto Negotiations on Climate Change: An Economic Perspective

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Fewer countries have devoted more time and verbosity to the construction of an ‘‘alternative energy system’’ than Sweden, and fewer have less to show for it. Now it appears that a Swedish-type energy model although it is a travesty of economic logic has been partially adopted by the Kyoto Conference on Climate Change (or COP 3). In this article I attempt to extend some of the comments on environmental matters that I make in my forthcoming textbook, Energy Economics: A Modern Introduction (Banks, 2000). This includes clarifying why it seems reasonable to accept the position of Gelbspan (1997) and others that climate warming may constitute a genuine danger to this planet. On the other hand, given the levels of unemployment, underemployment, and even poverty in many parts of the world, I see no point in amateurish experimentation with low-energy scenarios, nor an exaggerated faith in ‘‘alternative technologies.’’ For the present, within a framework of stricter environmental controls, energy consumption must continue to expand.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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