This article assesses continuing international efforts to establish an international regime to limit global climate change based on the Kyoto Protocol of 1997. It is highly unlikely that enough states will ratify the protocol for it to enter into force. Even if it does come into force, few of the developed countries are positioned to comply with their commitments to reduce or limit emissions of greenhouse gases by the target years 2008 to 2012. Furthermore, the Kyoto-man-dated reductions will at best be a first step toward the emission reductions needed to stabilize concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Among the reasons for the failure of the Kyoto process are the indeterminancy of the science of climate change, the complexity of the Kyoto Protocol's flexibility mechanisms, the tendency for differentiated responsibilities to encourage self-serving negotiating strategies, and the stalemate between the North and South. The prospects for reviving and energizing the Kyoto process are dim in the wake of the collapse of the climate change talks at COP6 in The Hague in November 2000 and the new Bush administration in Washington.

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