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Putin adviser says Kyoto 'smoke screen'

An adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin warns the Kyoto protocol ratified by his country is a propaganda “smoke screen” that will create a “supranational bureaucratic monster” threatening human freedom, similar to the Soviet Union’s.

For most of the world, writes Andrei Illarionov in the Financial Times, the protocol, set to become an international treaty next year, is “bad news.”

“Like fascism and communism, Kyotoism is an attack on basic human freedoms behind a smokescreen of propaganda,” he said. “Like those ideologies of human hatred, it will be exposed and defeated.”

Illarionov — whose views, the British paper noted, did not necessarily reflect those of the Russian authorities — asserted the Kyoto protocol is destructive for science and the environment, public health and safety, economic growth and the international fight against hunger and poverty.

The protocol, the presidential adviser contended, is scientifically unsubstantiated.

“Climate change is an inalienable feature of Earth,” he argued in his Financial Times piece. “But it is not proved that concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes changes in global temperature.Variations in energy flow from the sun determine our climate much more than anything else, including emissions of greenhouse gases. Historically, global temperature has fluctuated more than the increase of 0.6? Celsius over the past 100 years cited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

He pointed out that in the past, the Earth’s climate was warmer, the global temperature rose faster, sea level was higher, floods were more severe, droughts lasted longer and hurricanes were more devastating than in the 20th century.

“Climate change is real, but it is caused by forces of nature, not of humankind,” he asserted.

Illarionov contended “propaganda” wrongly equates greenhouse gases with air pollutants.

“Yet none of the six gases referred to in the Kyoto protocol is considered toxic,” he said. “The protocol tackles none of the real air pollutants. What is more, modern environmental cleaning processes are based on chemical reactions that create additional carbon dioxide as a by-product. Limiting such emissions means limiting implementation of the most efficient technologies.”

He also contended Kyoto is “devastating” to economic growth, because limiting emissions means limiting energy consumption, economic activity and technological progress.

Kyoto’s followers already are paying a heavy price, he says, noting that since 1997, slower emissions growth in 17 pro-Kyoto, high-income countries coincided with slower growth in gross domestic product in comparison to non-Kyoto nations such as the U.S., Australia and South Korea.

Illarionov warned enforcement of Kyoto would remind Russians of the days of the communist Soviet Union.

“The Kyoto protocol requires a supranational bureaucratic monster in charge of rationing emissions and, therefore, economic activities,” he said in the Financial Times piece. “The Kyotoist system of quota allocation, mandatory restrictions and harsh penalties will be a sort of international Gosplan, a system to rival the former Soviet Union’s.”

The Russian adviser insisted the majority of humankind does not accept this system, despite claims of worldwide support.

Even with Russia’s ratification, he pointed out, 75 percent of the world’s CO2 is emitted by the 89 percent of the world’s population living in countries not “handcuffed” by Kyoto’s restrictions.